Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday night tipped-off Border Security Force (BSF) that a group of ultras was camping at Zafarwal village on the Pakistani side and making a desperate attempt to sneak into Punjab through the Gurdaspur sector, it is learnt.
Sources say J-K director general of police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar had personally sounded the BSF that the Pakistani Rangers, along with an ISI detachment, were trying to push in a group of ultras through the Gurdaspur sector. Following the specific alert that came around midnight on Thursday, Punjab Police and the BSF combed the border region, while in strategic areas ambush teams were deployed, government sources said.
The tip-off from J-K Police to the BSF came following general alerts from the central intelligence agencies that terrorists were trying to sneak in from across the international border through the Gurdaspur sector.
Punjab Police have stationed its force in a ready-to-strike mode in strategic areas after the July 27 Gurdaspur strike in which Punjab lost its four security personnel and three civilians whereas 17 people were injured.
Sources say the Indian spy agencies had also sounded the security agencies in Punjab that Pakistan was trying to send ultras through the Gurdaspur sector. In one such alert, the central agencies referred to a recent meeting the Pakistan Army chief held with top officers of the ISI and Rangers to open international border with Punjab for infiltration.
Sources say a perfect coordination is in place among the BSF, Punjab and J-K to thwart any infiltration bid by the ultras and their plans to strike in Punjab region bordering J-K.
Sukhbir wants BSF strength boosted
It is in the backdrop of a series of alerts that on Friday deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal sent a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh to increase deployment of the BSF on the Punjab border with Pakistan on the pattern of J-K to stem infiltration of terrorists. Quoting the alerts received from the central agencies, the deputy CM said alerts had mentioned that terrorist groups were trying to infiltrate into the Indian territory through the international border in the Gurdaspur sector with the assistance of Pak agencies.
On the eve of Independence Day, unprecedented security arrangements were reported from all cities and towns in the state. In Gurdaspur district, other than Punjab Police, one company each of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been deployed at Dinanagar and Gurdaspur.
SSP Gurpreet Singh Toor said the town had been sealed and strict checking of vehicles entering the town was being done to avoid the entry of suspects and arms and ammunition. Toor said people could attend the Independence Day functions in Gurdaspur and other towns of the district without any fear.
In Amritsar, other than around 1,000 cops of its own, the city police have called in around 300 cops from outside. A total of 56 nakas have been laid in and around the city. Amritsar Police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said, “We are taking no chances and a close eye is being kept on all places that are largely visited.
All tourist places, cinema halls, shopping malls, bus stand and railway station are the zones where a high vigil is being kept. There is no city-specific input but after the attack in Dinanagar, there are inputs regarding the suspects moving in uniform, so we have informed all officers and asked them to react immediately in case of suspicion.”
Aulakh said, “We have got extra men as well as automatic weapons. Moreover, Quick Reaction Teams have been formed to tackle any emergency. Sand-bag nakas are already in place in the city and LMGmounted vehicles are seen doing patrol. Three-layered security arrangements have been made in Ludhiana with 3,600 cops deputed in the city to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Senior police officials will also be on duty. Deputy commissioner of police Narinder Bhargava said the police would guard the city in three layers. Around 20 armed teams will be deputed at entry points to check suspects and vehicles round the clock.
The police have formed 200 teams of police officers that will conduct patrolling in the city and will hold check points according to the situation. He said heavy police force had been deputed inside and outside Guru Nanak Stadium where the I-day programme would be held. Extra 600 personnel have been called from Punjab Armed Police (PAP) for security arrangements. Meanwhile, police held a flag march in the city.
In Jalandhar, as many as 1,000 cops will guard the city. The city police have received two companies from Punjab Armed wing in its preparations for security arrangements. Another 70 personnel from sixth India Reserve Battalion (IRB) and 35 from PAP battalion have already arrived for the purpose. Nakas have been set up across the city. Three cops, along with light machine guns (LMGs), have been deployed in these posts. The cops are conducting checking of vehicles, especially cars and heavy vehicles. In Bathinda, SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said 600 cops of PAP, Punjab Police commandos and Indian Reserve Battalion had been deployed in the district.
Meanwhile, members of the SWAT team, along with other police personnel, conducted a flag march in the town. Security has been raised in the town especially as deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will unfurl the national flag to mark the Independence Day celebrations.
In Sangrur, the main function is being held at Police Ground where irrigation minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon will unfurl the flag. DSP (detective) Paramjit Singh Goraya said adequate security arrangements had been made even at all subdivisions and all entry and exit points had been sealed.
(With inputs from Aseem Bassi, Kamaljit Singh Kamal, Sachin Sharma, Ravinder Vasudeva, Tarsem Singh Deogan and Gagandeep Singh Gill)