Nearly 10 armed men stormed a high-security prison in the Indian state of Punjab, which shares border with Pakistan, and freed a top separatist leader and four other convicts. The assailants wore police uniforms and entered the Nabha Central Jail on Sunday, 27 November morning.
Harminder Singh Mintoo, 47, the leader of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), was among the five people who managed to escape from the facility prompting Punjab and other neighbouring states to raise an alert.
"They sprayed more than 100 rounds of ammunitions before our security guards could react to the situation," a police source was quoted as saying.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has held an emergency security meeting.
The police said the other escapees were Vicky Gondar, Gurpreet Sekhon, Nita Deol and Vikramjeet Singh. A probe has been ordered into the jailbreak as a few prison officials were recently temporarily relieved of their duties. Several top officers from law enforcement agencies are at the scene to handle the situation.
The assailants came to the Nabha jail facility in four vehicles and staged the attack. Two security guards were injured in the incident. Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has alleged Pakistan might be behind the attack. He wrote on Twitter: "Pak desperate to revive terror post-surgical-strike. Could be behind jail break."
Mintoo, who became the leader of the armed insurgent group KLF in 2009, was a dreaded militant and was arrested by the Punjab security forces in 2014 at an airport when he returned from Thailand. He has been linked to more than 10 terror attacks in the past.