Gurdaspur attack: Anti-terror op ends; four cops killed, militants eliminated
Gurdaspur: After nearly 11 hours, the terrorist attack on Punjab's Dinanagar town in Gurdaspur district bordering Pakistan came to an end on Monday evening, police sources said.
The sources said that three terrorists had been killed in the counter-offensive launched by the Punjab Police. Six people, including a senior police officer, two home guards personnel and three civilians, were killed in the attack.
An official said that the area was being secured.
"Combing operations are on now," said Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Abhinav Trikha.
Police officials said that exact details of the number of terrorists killed will emerge only after the combing operation by the Punjab Police and other security agencies ends.
Senior police officers, including Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini, went inside the besieged police station complex here once the state's police's special forces gave the signal that the terrorists had been neutralised.
In the first major terror strike in Punjab in eight years, heavily-armed militants in army uniform sprayed bullets on a moving bus and stormed a police station at around 5 AM.
The terrorists have killed six persons-- three civilians and three policemen including Superintendent of Police (Detective), Baljit Singh, a Punjab provincial service officer, police said.
Indian Army personnel take position during the encounter with armed attackers at the police station in Dinanagar town, in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab state. Pic/AFP
Authorities said that more people were likely to killed in the terror attack.
"So far reports of five deaths including three civilians and two police personnel confirmed from Gurudaspur. Operation is still on," tweeted Press Information Bureau in Delhi.
Three home guard personnel who were inside the police station were among those feared killed. Other victims were civilians, including a person inside an adjoining hospital.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he had spoken to director general of Border Security Force (BSF) D.K. Pathak and instructed him to step up the vigil on India-Pakistan border in the wake of attack in Gurdaspur.
Special forces of the army and NSG as well as police commandos took up position around the Dinanagar police station.
This was the first major terror attack in Punjab following the assassination of then chief minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.
Punjab police personnel at the police station in Dinanagar town. Pic/AFP
Monday's attack began at 5.30 a.m. at Dinanagar town in Punjab's frontier district of Gurdaspur, close to the India-Pakistan border and near the border with Jammu and Kashmir state.
A gun battle raged between the terrorists, holed up inside the Dinanagar police station, and security forces, including soldiers. Continuous sound of firing and lobbying of grenades could be heard even hours after the first shots were fired by the militants.
The police station, adjoining government hospital, residential quarters inside the police station and nearby private houses were quickly cordoned off by security forces.
Minister of state for home Kirren Rijiju told IANS in Delhi that "as of now there is no information regarding hostages being held. We are looking into it and once I get some more information, I will come out with it".
The terrorists, numbering four, are believed to have come from Pakistan. They arrived in a Maruti 800 car which they had hijacked after firing at the driver and killing a person in a dhaba nearby. They also fired at people near the Dinanagar bus stand and then attacked the Dinanagar police station, located about 100 metres away.
Eyewitnesses said the terrorists fired on a bus going towards Jammu and later entered the police station.
"We were hit by a burst of gunfire suddenly. I was hit on the shoulder. They are firing indiscriminately every five minutes," a Punjab police official, who was injured in the attack, told media as he was being taken to the hospital.
The town is about 15 km from the India-Pakistan border and 25 km from the border of Jammu and Kashmir state. It is about 235 km from Chandigarh.
Additional Director-General of Punjab Police, Dinkar Gupta, told media the "attack took the Dinanagar police by surprised".
Army and police reinforcements were rushed to the spot. Punjab Police sources said the incident indicated may be a suicide attack.
The attack took place just a day after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal faced pro-Khalistan slogans while attending a function at Punjab University in Patiala.
In a related development, five live bombs were found on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway track.
The bombs were found by passersby on a bridge near Parmanand railway station on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway section, who informed security forces. Trains on the route were stopped immediately.
A major railway tragedy was averted as the bombs were carefully wired to the railway track at a small bridge near Parmanand railway station, five km from Dinanagar. A police spokesman told media that the army bomb disposal unit had defused the bombs.
A train, which was to pass on the railway track, was stopped just 200 metres from the spot where the bombs had been planted.