NEW DELHI: Thailand on Monday issued a lookout notice for Jagtar Singh Tara, a top Babbar Khalsa terrorist, on India’s request. This is part of the Centre’s urgent crackdown on what is being termed as re-configuration and likely impetus to Punjab militancy with help from across the border.
However, there is a bit of confusion on whether Tara is in Malaysia or Thailand, with sources pointing out that the border between the two countries is porous.
A Thailand military Internal Security Operations Command Region (ISOC) official said border control units have been instructed to screen visitors and Tara’s photos were also posted on local police’s wanted list. The main town on the Thai-Malaysian border Su-ngai Kolok had been specifically alerted. For India, Tara will be an important catch as he is increasingly seen as being projected as the top leader of BKI by his Pakistan ISI handlers, replacing Wadhawa Singh with whom he has had a rift over the years.
The timing will also be crucial as there was heightened anxiety among security agencies that there could be a consolidation and coordination among remnant Sikh terror groups outside India. This would have coincided with the 30th anniversary of Operation Blue Star this year.
According to Indian security agencies, the ISI had always used Thailand as a terror hub, especially to channel fake Indian currency. In July, three Pakistani nationals were arrested near the Pakistan embassy in Bangkok with fake Indian currency worth Rs 1.50 lakh.
Earlier, after escaping from the Chandigarh jail, Tara’s accomplice Jagtar Singh Hawara was accused of masterminding bombs blasts in cinema halls when Sunny Deol-starrer Jo Bole So Nihal was screened. Hawara was subsequently arrested from Punjab by Delhi Police in a covert operation. The convicts in the Beant Singh assassination case are lodged in Burail Jail and cannot be moved out of the facility due to high terror threat. Even the trial was held within the jail premises.