The latest terrorist attack on the airbase here has triggered the public demand for sensitive-zone status to Pathankot for the security of its ammunition depot and many army units as well.
The Bamyal sector in Pathankot district is a favourite infiltration route of Pakistani terrorists, one that the intruders who attacked the Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district last July, and those who killed two policemen in the Narot Jaimal Singh area a few years ago had taken. Treating the sector as a disturbed area or sensitive zone would help enhance its security, opine local people.
The recent attack has forced the state government to adopt a new policy for this city on the border of Himachal Pradesh and a disturbed Jammu and Kashmir. It has asked senior police officers to add a company to the force and appointed a superintendent of police (operation) for this area, yet locals feel that the army and the air force should depute own personnel for catching imposters in army fatigues. “Only maintaining a large and alert security force can plug the gaps in border security,” said local resident Sanjay Sareen, who lives near the Pathankot air force station, scene of action in the latest attack.
Since terrorists prefer to sneak in after dark, people want more men on night vigil and their alertness checked during surprise inspection at late and early hours. “Community policing is a must in the border areas, as police alone can’t do much,” said another Pathankot resident, Sanjay Kumar, adding: “Locals can recognise strangers quicker and help the police locate infiltrators. Police should take our help.” Pathankot senior superintendent of police (SSP) RK Bakshi agreed that since the river and tall grass made Bamyal a difficult terrain for border guards and an easy route for infiltrators; inputs from the local community would help a lot. “I will ask my teams to make civil defence committees and step up night vigil. I will hold officers accountable for any lapse,” he said.
Pathankot legislator Ashwani Sharma said that since deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had ordered another police company in this area, he saw better policing in the coming time.