Militants storm into Punjab police station, kill seven
NEW DELHI: Militants dressed
in Indian Army uniforms on Monday opened fire on a civilian bus and then took
over a police station in Punjab, killing at least seven persons, including
Gurudaspur SP (detective) Baljeet Singh, in a region that has been mostly calm
since India quelled a Sikh insurgency there two decades ago.
The police reported
finding five bombs wired to a railway track in the area, causing train services
to be suspended.
All the gunmen were
killed late in the day, after a shootout with police that continued for almost
12 hours, said Havaldar Prit Pal Singh in Gurdaspur, a district near the
international border with Pakistan and the state border with Jammu and Kashmir.
Home Minister Rajnath
Singh said he had ordered that security be increased on the border between
India and Pakistan.
It remained unclear who
the gunmen were. Though similar commando-style attacks are regularly carried
out by Islamic militants in Jammu and Kashmir, to the north, it is unusual to
see them in Punjab, which is heavily Sikh.
Throughout the 1980s,
the state was the site of one of India’s most violent ethnic conflicts, as
Indian forces battled the Khalistan Liberation Force, which sought to establish
an independent Sikh nation in Punjab. By the mid-1990s, however, that
insurgency was all but crushed, with hundreds of rebels arrested, killed or
The police said that
the gunmen on Monday, who were believed to have entered Punjab from Jammu and
Kashmir, had stolen a car and then opened fire on a moving intercity bus before
raiding the police station in Dinanagar, roughly 25 miles from the Pakistani
The attackers stormed
the station around 5 am and shot two officers on duty there, said Joginder
Singh, a constable at Gurdaspur Police Headquarters. It was unclear where the
other three people were killed. “We do not know how many people were inside the
station, and how many are still alive,” he said.
Among those killed was
a police superintendent who was “on the terrace, targeting the terrorists, when
the terrorists shot him down with a burst from their guns,” said an official
stationed at the residence of the police chief in Gurudaspur. Army commandos
were dispatched to Dinanagar to assist the police.
The perpetrators of
Monday’s terror strike in Punjab are suspected to have sneaked into India from
Pakistan through the unfenced border between Jammu and Pathankot or Chak Hira
in Jammu district to launch the brazen assault about which central agencies had
Union Home Ministry
sources said the terrorists may have entered the Indian territory around Sunday
midnight and hit the highway using Paharpur road, nearly 15 km from the
international border, to unleash mayhem that left six dead, including an SP
rank officer of Punjab police.
The last attack in
Jammu was carried out by terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed whose
fidayeen combatants, clad in Army fatigues, stormed a police station in Jammu
and Kashmir’s Kathua district on March 20 this year, killing six persons,
including three security force personnel. Both the militants had been killed in
The terrorists involved
in the attacks, reached Parmanand village on Jammu and Kashmir’s border with
Punjab where they attempted to hijack a tempo at 5.30 AM. The tempo driver,
however, managed to flee.
Later, they hijacked a
Maruti 800 car after injuring its driver who is hospitalised, before killing a
roadside vendor near Dinanagar bypass and spraying a Punjab roadways bus with
The three militants
were then holed up in vacant flats in the area before they were shot dead by
The intelligence inputs
spoke about the possibility of Pakistan-based militants targeting locations in
the two states due to enhanced security in the Jammu region. (With inputs from agencies)