For more than 30 hours beginning Saturday noon to Sunday evening, the SAS Nagar police and the populace of Zirakpur and surrounding areas remained in a state of panic after reports emerged that ‘suspicious-looking’ six men in army fatigues were spotted near the Chandigarh international airport on Saturday.
The men, in an army truck, were first seen in Dayalpura village near Zirakpur.
Even as the local police launched a hunt for the men by cordoning off certain areas around the airport, further credence was lent to the rumours when a staffer at a resort in Zirakpur reported that he had seen the men at around 1am on Sunday — 12 hours after the men were first sighted.
An even more cautious police then put the district on high alert and special nakas were set up. SAS Nagar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said, “As soon we received information on the presence of six suspects in the area, we alerted out teams and launched search operation. Finally, by around Sunday evening, it was confirmed that the men were army officials.”
He added, “We also met army officials to get some clarity and finally learnt that some officials were out on a secret exercise. This was not known to the local administration.”
“After the Pathankot airbase attack earlier this year, we did not want to take any risk. We beefed up the security in the district and also alerted nearby police stations,” said another senior official.
The SSP added that he would hold a meeting with the district administration to remove encroachment in Jagatpura village close to the airport. The search operations were carried out under the supervision of Patiala Zone IG
Paramraj Singh Umranangal with DIGs and SSPs of SAS Nagar, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar.