The Uttar Pradesh police have arrested three suspected Khalistani sympathisers after an encounter in Shamli district on Monday.The trio, identified as Karam Singh, Jinta and Amreet alias Amrit, were caught while transporting weapons reportedly to be used to target former Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal.The police have seized two rifles, snatched from the police recently, from the three accused. One pistol, 21 live cartridges and one motorbike have also been recovered from their possession.Shamli Superintendent of Police Dinesh Kumar P. told The Hindu that the police acted on a tip-off that some Khalistani sympathisers were planning to transport weapons from Shamli to Punjab. “The accused had planned to target politician Parkash Singh Badal. It is yet to be ascertained whether they had planned to attack Mr. Badal directly or create panic by attacking his rally,” Mr. Kumar said. Further investigation is on in the matter as the mastermind of the gang named German and another accused, Karma, are still at large, he added.“We cannot share more details but our teams are working to arrest German and Karma,” Mr. Kumar said. The police said German is in touch with pro-Khalistan groups.The rifles recovered from the accused were snatched on October 2 in Shamli’s Jhinjana police station area. A police post was attacked by some criminals who shot at head constable Sansaar Singh and home guard Sanjay Verma and made off with their rifles.Karam Singh hails from Shamli, Jinta from Saharanpur while Amreet is a resident of Karnal in Haryana. Both German and Karma are from Shamli.When asked about the background of the arrested accused, SP Kumar said no criminal history has surfaced so far but they are Khalistani sympathisers who were involved in planning an attack.Mr. Badal, 90, had organised a mega rally on October 7 in Patiala. “The criminals had planned to attack Mr. Badal’s rally on October 7, but due to some reasons the attack was postponed,” Mr. Kumar said.