The terrorists who attacked the army and civilians in Kathua district of neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir on Friday might have spent few days hiding in the Dhar forest of this district of Punjab.
A local, Mohammad Sadique, has reported that he spotted the suspects in that block on Thursday, and even though police don’t trust the input, they have launched manhunt in the area. Pathankot SSP Rakesh Kaushal is in the Dhar forest with his team.
Sadique, who hauled sand and gravel on his tractor-trailer, had shared with fellow villagers first that he had spotted three men in army uniform with some armed civilians, who on seeing him, had disappeared into the woods of Dukhniali village near Dunera on the Pathankot-Dalhousie road.
Spread over both Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, the forest along the large reservoir of the Ranjit Sagar dam is a favourite hideout of fleeing Kashmir militants because of thick camouflage.
“Combing the area since Thursday. We don’t think that the input from Sadique and Friday’s attack on the army in Kathua are linked; but we have to explore all angles,” said SSP Rakesh Kaushal.
“Just one man claims to have seen the suspects, yet we have sounded a high alert in the area because of the coming Lok Sabha elections,” he added.
The security on the border with Jammu and Kashmir is beefed up and every passing vehicle is being screened.