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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

‘Terror threat’: Massive search operation launched in 3 border dists

Additional 5,000 cops, including 900 officials, deployed in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala police districts

chandigarh Updated: Oct 12, 2019 00:55 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva and Vinay Dhingra
Ravinder Vasudeva and Vinay Dhingra
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Police conducting search operation at districts bordering Pakistan
Police conducting search operation at districts bordering Pakistan (HT Photo)
         

Acting on intelligence reports on a possible terror strike, Punjab Police on Friday launched a massive cordon and search operation in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala police districts bordering Pakistan.

Heavy police force from other districts and reserved battalions were deployed overnight in these border districts. Around 5,000 cops, over 900 officials — 88 SPs, 253 DSPs, 358 inspectors and 307 assistant sub-inspectors — were deployed to assist the local police.

ADGP law and order Ishwar Singh and ADGP, Special Operations Group and Commandos, Rakesh Chandra are leading the operation in which officials from the forest department have also been involved.

The decision to launch the operation, it is learnt, was taken during a meeting chaired by director general of police Dinkar Gupta in Jalandhar. The meeting was attended by officials from the air force, army intelligence, BSF, NIA and other security agencies.

A Punjab Police official privy with the developments said there was a threat perception in these three districts after which some “vulnerable points” were identified and it was decided to launch a cordon and search operation.

The operation also includes clearing the area of arms and ammunition from Pakistan suspected to have been dropped by drones. The operation will continue for three days.

The DGP said the aim of the operation was to clear all security related doubts in these areas and to instil sense of confidence among residents. “We will launch such an operation in other border districts too,” said Gupta, who denied any “specific terror alert” as the reason for the exercise.

MOST VULNERABLE DISTRICTS

The district administrations have asked hospitals in Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala to keep at least eight beds free to meet any eventuality. Pathankot senior medical officer Dr Bhupinder Singh confirmed the development.

Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala are the three most vulnerable districts as far as terror threat from Pakistan is concerned. Bamyal sector, situated on the Indo-Pak border, was used by Pakistani terrorists twice to carry out attacks in Dinanagar on July 27, 2015, and at Pathankot Air Force Station in 2016.

Pathankot has a large number of military installations, an air base and ammunition depots and the area remains under tight security.

Last month, Intelligence Bureau (IB) sounded a high alert in these districts following reports that Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists may try to sneak into Punjab from the Bamyal sector. Following the alert, Punjab Police increased deployment in the border areas.

First Published: Oct 12, 2019 00:55 IST

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