NEW DELHI: An NIA probe into a series of targeted killings, including those of RSS workers, Dera Sacha Sauda followers and a pastor in Punjab in the last two years has revealed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is using Khalistani extremists to try and stoke communal unrest in the state.
The plan was to foment tension by killing key people and revive militancy. ISI turned to Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) led by Harminder Singh Mintoo, lodged in Moga jail, and Harmeet Singh, said to be living in Pakistan under ISI cover.
Details of the conspiracy were revealed during questioning of two hitmen — Ramandeep Singh and Hardeep Singh — by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the case relating to the murder of Ravinder Gosain, an RSS pracharak, in Ludhiana in October 2017. The duo allegedly admitted to killing six other men — RSS state vice-president Jagdish Gagneja in August 2016, Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta in April 2016, Hindu Takht leader Amit Sharma in January, Dera Sacha Sauda follower Satpal Singh and his son in February and Christian pastor Sultan Masih in July. They also attempted to kill a few others.
Sources said other cases would soon be probed by the NIA and added that Ramandeep and Hardeep were recruited as contract killers online sometime in 2015. They were asked them to carry out executions in Punjab. The KLF used its network in the UK to reach the two men.
On a positive response from these two, ISI and KLF allegedly transferred Rs 40 lakh to them in India through hawala, Western Union and individual bank accounts from the UK, Italy, France, the UAE and Pakistan.
Ramandeep allegedly travelled to the UAE in March 2015 for basic training from the ISI and KLF and to understand the broad plan.