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Khalistan Liberation Force chief escapes from Indian jail

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NEW DELHI: Ten armed men broke into the Nabha jail in Patiala district of Indian Punjab, and freed the chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force.

Harminder Singh Mintoo and four others managed to escape after a group of gunmen attacked the prison on Sunday morning

According to NDTV, the gunmen reached the Nabha prison in two cars, attacked a guard with a knife and forced their way into the prison. They reportedly fired more than 100 rounds which injured more than two policeman.

The 49-year-old Harminder Singh Mintoo was arrested in November 2014 from New Delhi airport upon return from Thailand. He was was accused of being involved in 10 terror related cases.

The Punjab government has announced a reward of Rs25 lakh for any information on them and a probe by a Special Task Force has been launched. The jail official have also been suspended.

The other criminals who escaped included Vicky Gondar, Gurpreet Sekhon, Neeta Deol and Vikramjit. Punjab has been put on high alert and neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have also been alerted.

The central government has asked for a report from the Punjab government regarding the jailbreak. “We will help the Punjab government in any way we can,” said Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

Khalistan Liberation Force was founded by Aroor Singh and Sukhvinder Singh Babbar in 1986, and is part of the Khalistan movement to create a seperate homeland for Sikhs called Khalistan through armed struggle.

The highlight of the Khalistan movement was Operation Blue Star when Indian forces stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar from 1st to 8th June 1984 on the orders of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The operation aimed to remove religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his militant armed followers from the complex buildings. However, more than 493 people including Bhindranwale were killed in the operation.

Four months after the operation, Indira Gandhi was assassinated on 31 October 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards in an act of vengeance. Subsequently, more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in the ensuing anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

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