Security agencies probing a shootout with two trained intruders from Pakistan in Punjab's border district of Gurdaspur last month say the terrorists had come prepared for a major strike, probably like the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
Security agencies say there is a similarity between the terrorists killed and those who carried out the Nov 26-29, 2008, Mumbai carnage in which 166 people were killed.
The two Pakistani intruders, killed in Gurdaspur district's border belt in the Bhamial sector April 24, had on them US manufactured equipment, used by the US security forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places.
Security agencies recovered from the killed fidayeen two AK-47 assault rifles, ammunition, a US-made military compass, two pistols, grenades and military jackets to carry things.
The seized pistols, believed to be from the Pakistan Army with a star marking, had its embossed manufacture origin tampered with.
Besides the weapons, the Pakistan link is hard to ignore.
Even the watches the terrorists were wearing had the time which was 30 minutes behind the Indian Standard Time (IST). Pakistan national time is 30 minutes behind India.
Both intruders are believed by security agencies to be part of a group of 6-8 terrorists pushed into India April 19 from the Pakistan side after rockets were first fired into Indian territory, followed by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast at the barbed wire fencing in the Bhamial sector that blew away nearly 10 metres of the fencing.
Security officials said that the 'fidayeen' had been sent to India to carry out specific terror strikes.
"The target that these terrorists wanted to achieve has been destroyed with them. They had tampered with markings on their pistols too," Gurdaspur district police chief Lok Nath Angra said.
"The fidayeen seemed to have come for a long haul like the Mumbai terrorists. They were fully equipped and trained," another Punjab police official said.
It was a village housewife, Pawanpreet Kaur, who first saw the two terrorists trying to hide in the agricultural fields beside her house on April 24 morning. She alerted her farmer husband, Sukhwant Singh Goldy.
The Punjab police, who were combing the area following the April 19 firing incident, were alerted and a nearby patrol immediately challenged the terrorists. In the encounter, both terrorists were killed while two policemen also lost their lives and one was injured.
This was the first time that the Punjab police had an encounter with trained 'fidayeen'.
Security agencies have now provided security to the couple and the Ratharwa village. Nearly, 1,000 Punjab police personnel and Border Security Force (BSF) troopers are still combing the border belt.
"We are not afraid of the terrorists. We take pride in the fact that we informed the police and both terrorists were killed," Goldy, who challenged the heavily armed terrorists with his 'kirpan' (Sikh religious small sword), said.
After the encounter, Harbhajan Singh, who lives near the village, told the police that the two terrorists had entered his house earlier and demanded food at gun-point.