A day after the Punjab government patted its back for “successful” handling of Dinanagar terror attack, opposition Congress slammed it for “ignoring” intelligence inputs and handling the operation “unprofessionally.”
Former chief minister and deputy leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Captain Amarinder Singh visited the Gurdaspur civil hospital on Tuesday to meet cops who were injured in the encounter. Later, he met the family of late superintendent of police Baljit Singh, who was killed in the gunbattle.
While talking to media, Amarinder accused chief minister Parkash Singh Badal of gross negligence for “ignoring the intelligence input warning about a possible terror strike in Punjab 10 days ago.”
“The government appears to have thrown the intel input into dustbin and the consequences are before us,” said Amarinder while quoting national security adviser Ajit Doval on alert being issued to the state around 10 days ago.
He also hit out at deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for not cutting short his foreign trip even after such a grave incident. “Authorities in the state had been informed about the terror attack in advance, but the police were caught unawares. Where was the preparedness? Where is state home minister Sukhbir? Any sensible and responsible person in his place would have rushed back the moment he learnt about the incident. After Monday’s attack, Badal should shun the support of extremists. If you play with fire, you are bound to get hurt,” he said.
“The alerts may not have been too specific, but what measures did they (authorities) take after receiving it,” he asked, while pointing out that security wasn’t intensified. The terrorists had a free run till they entered the Dinanagar police station, he said. “Our enemies will continue to conspire against us and it is our responsibility to remain alert and vigilant, which Badal chose not to be”, he said.
Capt: Badal’s panthic agenda dangerous
Ruling out the possibility of return of terrorism to Punjab, Amarinder said it was an isolated incident abetted from abroad. At the same time, he cautioned Badal against “reviving the Panthic agenda”, saying it was dangerous for Punjab. The Amritsar MP also paid a glowing tribute to martyred SP Baljit Singh, saying the family had a tradition of valour and sacrifice. The government must provide jobs to his children, said Amarinder.
‘Policy of hot pursuit against terrorists’
Advocating the policy of hot pursuit against terrorists, Amarinder said the government should hunt down militants and their patrons across the border even if it leads to escalation in hostilities.
Blaming Pakistan’s InterServices Intelligence (ISI) for Monday’s terror attack at Dinanagar, he said the post of Prime Minister in Pakistan had become superfluous as the army was running that country.
“I want to tell Pakistan army chief Raheel Sharif not to test India’s patience. Don’t force the Indian Army to adopt a hot pursuit approach,” he added. Punjab Congress chief Partap Bajwa visited Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar to enquire about the well-being of victims of the terror attack.
“The Punjab Police team had no bulletproof jackets and was fighting terrorists in kurta-pyjama, shorts and T-shirts. The entire operation was handled unprofessionally. The central forces had moved in, but Punjab Police did not allow the army to take over the operation.
The army would have taken less than one hour to complete the operation. Police had also not cordoned off the area. The saving grace was that the terrorists were holed up in police station. Had they entered the market or headed towards the city, they would have caused a mayhem,” Bajwa told HT.
He also targeted CM Badal’s sangat darshan programmes, saying a large number of policemen are engaged in overseeing Badal’s security. “The chain of command in police needs to be restored. The state police is illequipped and highly politicised. There is no order. The CM says he sent intelligence inputs to the central government and his DGP says he did not have any intelligence inputs,” said Bajwa.