The regular feature of ‘appearing’ of the ‘suspicious persons’ in and around Pathankot, believed to be Pakistani militants has increased the locals’ demand to review the internal security of the town which has a strategic air base and large number of army establishments surrounding this border city.
Panic prevails in the town as and when the news of appearing such persons floors and spurs police and security forces into action to launch a manhunt, most of which comes out to be a futile exercise.
Many such actions of the security forces have brought no gain except in one when Punjab Police SP Salwinder Singh and his jeweller friend had claimed that they were abducted by the four Pakistani militants, who later stormed the Pathankot Air Base on the intervening night of January 1 and 2, killing seven security personnels, before they all were gunned down by the security forces.
“As nobody dares to tell lies fearing serious results, the persons claiming of having seen suspected persons could be right and cannot be ignored,” said BD Chugh a retired personnel from air force.
“There is a need to strengthen the internal security of the town, particularly at night when the time is ripe for the anti-national persons,” he said. Footage of the CCTV cameras could be of a big help and the watching of the night activities near the main establishments is necessary for the security forces, which could bring good results, he added.
A resident Naval Kishore said, “Community policing can also be a good tool which can be used at this time when the threat of the militants looms large due to the ulterior motives of the neighbouring country.”
There is a need to keep a close watch on the possible hide outs and shelters of the militants who can take shelter in the makeshift houses of the shepherd community camping in large number around Pathankot and Gurdaspur he said.
“We have to believe any information provided to us, be it a false or true, as we cannot take a risk,” said SSP Rakesh Kaushal. “We have been cracking down on the makeshift houses of the shepherds(Gujjar community), which could be used as a safe hideout by the militants,” he added.
“On borders we are having regular meetings with the residents and in city also, we will start this process to increase internal security of the town.” SSP said.
“Though we have installed nearly 700 CCTV cameras but we are planning to have more of them to learn the night time activities of the town,” he said.