Chandigarh: In a daring move, ten armed men attacked Nabha jail in Punjab and escaped with five people, including Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo.
The men, who were wearing police uniforms, breached the tight security of the jail, which is about 100 km from Chandigarh, at around 9:30 am.
They entered the jail premises in two cars, including a Toyota Fortuner SUV, as per media reports.
Four others who were freed by the men are Gurpreet Singh,Vicky Gondra, Nitin Deol, Vikramjeet Singh Vicky, as per ANI.
Reacting to the incident, Suresh Arora, Punjab DGP said, "The arrangement of security all fine. Questions will be obviously raised, but let's see."
Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister Vineet Joshi said the incident was related to "cross-border terrorism".
"This is not a general petty crime issue. This is cross-border terrorism. We already had an input which was in public domain that Pakistani agencies were trying to destabilise Punjab ahead of elections, so this is an effort which I believe has links to cross-border terrorism," he said, as per PTI.
On the other hand, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "DG jails has been suspended and jail superintendent and Deputy jail superintendent have been dismissed."
A manhunt has been launched to trace the prisoners who escaped, Sukhbir, who also holds the home portfolio, said and added that a special task force has been formed to track them.
Further, the Deputy CM said a special investigation team under an ADGP rank officer has also been constituted which shall look into lapses as well as any conspiracy theories surrounding the jailbreak incident.
"Special Investigation team has been asked to submit report within three days in this regard," he said.
Mintoo was arrested by Punjab Police from Delhi's IGI Airport in 2014. He was arrested in connection with 10 cases including the 2008 attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and recovery of explosives at Halwara Air Force station in 2010.
In another development, a woman was killed when police opened fire at a vehicle which had jumped a barrier.
The incident occurred at a 'naka' on Patiala-Gulha Cheeka road. Police tried to stop the car, but its driver did not stop despite being asked to and when police opened fire, a woman who received the gunshot wounds was killed.
Police sources said that it could not be immediately ascertained whether the woman, who was not travelling in the car which jumped the barrier, was travelling in some other vehicle or was walking on the road when she got hit by the bullet.
Meanwhile, the Centre has sought a report from the state government over the jailbreak incident.
(With Agency inputs)