Police Kill Sikh Sought for Bombings that Claimed 85 Lives
AMRITSAR, India (AP) _ A Sikh militant sought in connection with ″transistor radio″ bombings in New Delhi that killed at least 85 people was slain in a gun battle with police in Punjab state, police reported Monday.
The body of Anokh Singh was found after a 45-minute exchange of fire late Sunday between Sikh extremists and security forces near Vairowal village in the eastern Amritsar District, said Amritsar Police Chief Izhar Alam.
He gave no further details and did not mention other casualties.
Anokh Singh was the main suspect in the bombings in New Delhi in the summer of 1985. Most of the victims were people who picked up what they thought were small radios that had been lost, and the devices exploded.
Anokh Singh had been captured by police, but escaped earlier this year while being transferred from Punjab to New Delhi for a court hearing. Police had offered a 100,000 rupee ($7,700) reward for his capture.
In New Delhi, two Sikh militants arrested over the weekend were remanded to police custody pending a Sept. 29 court appearance.
The prisoners are Harjinder Singh Jinda and Satnam Singh Bawa.
Jinda was sought for the killing last August of retired Gen. A.S. Vaidya, who was the army chief of staff when troops raided the Sikh’s holy Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984. The assault was ordered by the central government, which claimed Sikh terrorists were using the temple as a hideout and armory.
Jinda and Bawa are leaders of the Khalistan Commando Force, the most powerful of the Sikh separatist groups active in Punjab state in northern India.
The Sikhs, whose religion is an offshoot of Hinduism, are a majority in Punjab but form only about 2 percent of India’S 780 million people, most of whom are Hindus. Sikh separatists want their own state in Punjab and would call it Khalistan.
Also on Monday, Amritsar’s half million residents were warned of possible attacks by Sikh terrorists. A statement by the city’s superintendent of police, Chawdhury Baldev Singh, said, ″Explosive materials have reached Amritsar city in huge quantity.″
It added that Sikh extremists ″are planning to explode bombs in crowded shopping centers, market places and cinema houses.″
Four people were reported shot to death in Punjab Monday.
Police said three Sikh gunmen killed two Hindus in Amritsar’s business district, the body of a Sikh school teacher who had been shot was found in a field near the city and a shopkeeper was shot to death by Sikh militants in neighboring Gurdaspur District.
The deaths raised to 714 the number of people reported killed this year in attacks related to the Sikh-Hindu violence. Sikh separatists have targeted both Hindus and moderate Sikhs in their guerrilla campaign.