7 Sikh militant suspects arrested in India

Police in northern India on Tuesday arrested four suspected militants allegedly tied to an outlawed Sikh militant group that authorities fear may be gearing up for a fresh insurgency, officials and a news report said.

The arrests of the suspected members of Babbar Khalsa came a day after authorities nabbed three men they believe also belong to that group, including its India operations chief, Paramjit Singh Bheora, who escaped from a jail in 2004 by digging a 28-meter (92-feet) tunnel.

Police arrested four suspected militants Tuesday morning in Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab, the Press Trust of India news agency reported citing Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav.

Bheora, who was arrested Monday with two other men, is accused of involvement in a suicide bombing in 1995 that killed Punjab's Chief Minister Beant Singh, the state's top elected official.

Police also seized explosives, detonators, a wireless set, pistols, ammunition and a stolen car from Bheora, officials said Tuesday.

Babbar Khalsa was one of the most prominent groups in a movement seeking the creation of a separate Sikh state in northern India in the 1980s and early 1990s. Some 18,000 people died in the insurgency that New Delhi claimed was backed and funded by Pakistan, a charge Islamabad denies, reports the AP.

I.L.