GURDASPUR: Punjab’s border districts of Gurdaspur and Pathankot remained on high alert and security forces conducted extensive search operations for the second day on Thursday in the wake of suspicion that some terrorists had sneaked in to carry out an attack.
Locals in a village near Tibri cantonment of Gurdaspur district Wednesday reported sighting of two men in army uniform moving in suspicious manner, following which Army and police began the search operation.
Gurdaspur was targeted by Pakistani terrorists in July last year when a police station here was attacked while Pathankot was witness to a terror strike on Air base on last Saturday. Significantly, a day before the Pathankot attack, there were reports of sighting of 4-5 terrorists after a Superintendent of Police was allegedly abducted.
“The two border districts of Gurdaspur and Pathankot are on high alert,” said Gurdaspur Senior Superintendent of Police Gurpreet Singh Toor on Thursday. Not ruling out the possibility of terrorists hiding, he said, “We are not taking any chance” and complete sanitisation will be carried out.
“Suspicion of possible terrorists is there…. We have cordoned off the entire area and combing operations are going on to sanitise it completely,” the SSP said, while informing that no suspicious movement was noticed adjacent to Tibri cantonment on Thursday.
Security agencies were on their toes and a combing operation was being undertaken around Tibri military cantonment area here. “All vehicles and people, in and around the area, are being physically checked,” Toor said, adding the situation was under control.
A farmer, Satnam Singh, of Pandher village was the first one to make the claim of having seen two men in army fatigues moving in suspicious manner when he was working in the fields, police had said. Pandher village is situated about one-and-a-half km away from the Tibri cantonment. Police immediately swung into action and reported the matter to Army and a joint search operation was launched.
There were also reports that five terrorists had sneaked into the border area of Gurdaspur and Pathankot, following which army formations have been put on alert, officials said. Six terrorists in army fatigues attacked the Air Base in Pathankot on Saturday last, leading to an encounter that lasted over four days. Army is using drone helicopters to locate possible terrorists and pressed into service bullet-proof vehicles, officials said.
Army has installed flood lights and police is conducting door-to-door searches to flush out the suspected terrorists, they said. Punjab police has pressed into service the SWAT and dog squads are also assisting in the combing operation, officials said.
In Batala, the biggest town of Gurdaspur, police has requisitioned more security forces even as one company (about 100 personnel) of Punjab Armed Police was rushed there Thursday. The company of armed police was deployed at various places to thwart any attack. SP (Investigation) Pardeep Malik told media that special pickets have been set up and vehicles are being searched. BSF personnel in this border area have also been put on the high alert, police said.