In a startling development, three men with alleged Khalistan links were apprehended in Ayodhya just days before the grand inauguration of the Ram Temple on January 22. The arrests, made on Thursday, have raised concerns about potential security threats from Khalistan extremists surrounding the highly anticipated event.
According to reports, the suspicion surrounding the trio intensified after a recorded voice message, purportedly from Khalistan leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, circulated on mobile phones in Lucknow. In the audio message, the individual posing as Pannun addressed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, warning that the proscribed organization Sikh for Justice (SFJ) would hold the CM accountable on January 22, asserting that the Ram Temple consecration would not save him.
The message further alluded to the arrest of two SFJ members in Ayodhya. Prashant Kumar, the Director General of Police for law and order in Uttar Pradesh, confirmed that the three accused individuals were identified as Shankar Dussad alias Shankar Jajod, Ajit Kumar Sharma, and Pradeep Puniya, all residents of Rajasthan.
Dussad, one of the arrested men, was reportedly in contact with Pannun through Canada-based arms smuggler Lakhbir Singh Sandhu, alias Landa. The authorities believe that Dussad forged these links during his incarceration in Central Jail, Bikaner, where he spent over seven years until his release on May 15, 2023.
During his time in Bikaner Jail, Dussad allegedly met Lakhbinder Singh, who introduced him to Pumma, a nephew with connections to Canada-based Khalistani leader Sukhdool Singh Gill, also known as Sukha Duneke. Duneke was tragically shot dead by unknown assailants in September 2023. Dussad maintained contact with Duneke and Landa through WhatsApp, as reported.
The Khalistani leaders purportedly instructed Dussad to visit Ayodhya and prepare a map of the site, prompting his arrest during a vehicle check in front of Trimurti Hotel in Ayodhya.
The Uttar Pradesh Police are taking the matter seriously, especially in light of the upcoming mega inauguration of the Ayodhya Ram Temple. The arrests have heightened security concerns, and authorities are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the safety of the event and the attendees.
As the nation eagerly awaits the historic inauguration, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges to national security, requiring constant vigilance and swift action to thwart any potential threats.