For many middlerung Punjab police officers, Gurdaspur’s terror siege threw a rare opportunity to take on the terrorists.
As the reports of terror attack began pouring in on Monday, many police officials — some posted in even far-off areas — approached their higher-ups for taking part in the counter-offensive to flush out the terrorists.
Ludhiana police commissioner Pramod Ban rushed to Gurdaspur along with his core team of around 40 cops trained for special operations. Police sources say Ban made frantic calls to his superiors seeking permission to take part in this operation in which three holed up terrorists were shot dead after a gunbattle that lasted about 11 hours.
Similarly, additional director general of police (general railway police) Rohit Chaudhary on his own arrived with his men on the spot, while Hoshiarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Raj Jit Singh was also among officers who went to the battle zone as volunteers.
Police sources say a police intelligence officer of the rank of deputy inspector general (DIG) was on a tour of Amritsar. When he was sounded about the terror attack, the DIG opted to rush to Dinanagar. This decision paid off as he planned and coordinated the offensive of special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team.
Another officer DIG Ajay Pandey who was in Amritsar as chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was in the holy city, left voluntarily to Gurdaspur to pitch in. Says a police officer: “The force was very much charged up. The cops were not concerned about their safety. They wanted to give a befitting reply to the holed up terrorists.”
Some eyebrows, however, are being raised over the handling of the operation. Questions are being raised as to why Punjab Police didn’t allow army to deal with the holed up terrorists.
“The idea behind getting the job done by our own men was to strengthen people’s faith in police and government. The state police and the government could not allow itself to be seen as fleeing the scene abdicating their own moral, political and constitutional obligation to preserve peace,” says Harcharan Bains, adviser to chief minister on national affairs and media.