AMRITSAR, Punjab, India: June 23, Reuter: ;Indian police said on Thursday they believed the most extreme Sikh fundamentalist group was responsible for bombs that killed at least 27 people in the northern city of Amritsar.

They said Tuesday’s bombs appeared to be the work of the Babbar Khalsa (Pure Tigers) group, which has been blamed wrongly for bomb attacks in the past.

The group has long evaded police, but this time they felt confident of a breakthrough, said a senior police official who asked not to be identified.

“Unlike in the past we are now getting on some feedback on the man behind the bombings”, he told Reuters.

The official would not reveal further details, but he appeared to hope Sikhs outraged by the bombings and fearful of an anti-Sikh backlash would volunteer information.

More than 60 people were injured by time bombs which exploded in a busy street near Amritsar’s Golden Temple. Ten are still in critical condition.

The police believed to have linked Babbar Khalsa with all the recent bombings including in Haryana and New Delhi.

Satya Paul Dang, a Communist author has also tried to blame the Babbars for these incidents.

Dang said Babbar Khalsa was the most fundamental of all Sikh fundamentalist groups. He said it aimed to provoke a Hindu backlash against the Sikhs.

The group’s leader is Sukhdev Singh Babbar, but his whereabouts are not known. The group emerged in late 1983 and only a few members have ever been captured.

Babbar Khalsa is suspected of planting a bomb on May 30 in Amritsar which killed more than 30 people.

The Indian government, concerned about the possibility of a backlash, has issued an urgent appeal for calm.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 1, 1988