Luring youths of lower strata of society, irrespective of their religion, with foreign dreams and easy money is the latest modus operandi of the banned terror outfit International Youth Sikh Federation (IYSF) to further its cause, investigations suggest. Of the six IYSF operatives arrested by the Punjab Police for last year’s November 21 grenade attack at an army camp in Pathankot, three are Hindus and all of them come from a poor family background. The IYSF is a banned outfit being run by wanted terrorist Lakhbir Singh Rode, who reportedly operates in Pakistan.

The six accused were identified as prime accused Amandeep alias Mantri of Lakhanpal village, Parminder Kumar, alias Rohit, alias Rohta, of Kharal village, Raman Kumar of Ghazikot village, Gurwinder Singh of Kharal village, Rajinder Singh of Gunnupur village and Harpreet Singh of Gotpokhar village in Gurdaspur district.

Officials familiar with the matter, who didn’t wish to be named, said the accused were neither radicalised nor driven by pro-Khalistan ideology. Their job was to create panic through grenade attacks as briefed by their handler, Sukhpreet Singh alias Sukh of Kharal village, who is currently in Greece, and reportedly an aide of Rode. The accused trained themselves in handling grenades from videos available on YouTube, the officials said.

Officials said Amandeep Kumar came from poor family background and earned hand to mouth. His father was a truck driver, who is bedridden since he met a road accident. Amandeep is also said to be a drug addict and has an attempt-to-murder conviction behind him. “He was known to Sukhpreet and was the one who received the consignments of arms and ammunition to execute the blasts. Amandeep was offered paltry sum of up to 20,000 per terror activity,” added the officials.

Another accused, 19-year-old Raman Kumar is too a drug addict, officials said, and his late father had served in the army. His mother runs the household on her husband’s pension, while Raman’s sister is married. He was lured with foreign dreams by Sukhpreet through another accused, Harpreet Singh.

Parminder Kumar, 23, worked as a carpenter and was lured by another accused Gurwinder Singh with money to execute the terror activities.

“They were active for the last four to six months. Probe suggests that one of the accused was not even paid any money. In its attempt for survival, the IYSF is targeting needy youths belonging to the lower strata of society in lieu of paltry sums and foreign dreams,” the officials said.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar senior superintendent of police, Kanwardeep Kaur, declined to comment on the matter.

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