Two years after Pathankot attack, Punjab police have ‘second line of defence’
The police have permanently posted two battalions of cops in the second line of defence and shifted 4th Indian reserve Battalion from Kapurthala to Pathankot.punjab Updated: Jan 03, 2018 09:34 IST
The Punjab police, whose role was questioned during the terrorist attack on the Pathankot military base in which six security personnel were killed two years ago, now claims to have created a second line of defence to strengthen its position along the border with Pakistan.
Even as questions remain if these arrangements are enough to thwart any bid of infiltration by terrorists, senior police officials claim that as compared to the situation during Pathankot attack, the force is better equipped.
The police have also claimed to increase information-sharing with the Border Security Force (BSF).
The police deployment in the sensitive border zones has increased manifold, and more bulletproof SUVs, tractors, night-vision devices have been purchased. “Strengthening of nakas as per ‘second line of defence’ has been done. All these nakas have been made cemented. Though only God knows if these arrangements are enough to deal with any attack, at least these are good preparations we have made that were not there during the Pathankot attack,” said a senior official.
The police have permanently posted two battalions of cops in the second line of defence and shifted 4th Indian reserve Battalion from Kapurthala to Pathankot. A post of assistant inspector general (AIG), counter-intelligence, has also been created in Pathankot. Sources said police have installed cameras in sensitive zones, especially along the rivers.
The state government has also announced to set-up an anti-terrorist squad (ATS) for which training has already started at the Bahadurgarh Training Centre in Patiala.
The state police were criticised by the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs led by former Union minister P Chidambram when it visited the Pathankot airbase in February 2016. The panel panned the police for not acting swiftly on the intelligence alert. The panel had also rapped the state police for not taking serious cognizance of the abduction bid of its SP-rank officer Salwinder Singh by terrorists. Salwinder after a thorough investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was given a clean chit.
More interaction with BSF
The police have also claimed to increase information-sharing with the Border Security Force (BSF). “It won’t be appropriate to share exact details but right from collection, compilation and dissemination of the information between police and other agencies, we have taken some concrete steps,” said an SSP posted in a border district. As per inputs obtained from intelligence wing of Punjab Police, at least eight alerts have been sounded in the border areas recently.
Meanwhile, in the case, the NIA on December 18 formally charged Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), his brother Mufti Rauf Asghar and two key lieutenants – Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif— for planning and sending four attackers to target the Pathankot airbase. It also named four slain attackers — Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum — as accused, and said they were trained in Jaish camps in Pakistan.
The charge sheet was filed in a special NIA court in Mohali following a year-long probe, in which the agency received help from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for getting details of the Facebook profile of Kashif Jan, who was in touch with the attackers.