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Terror returns to Punjab

Some men just want to watch the world burn. That’s the explanation Alfred Pennyworth offers to Batman for the Joker’s behavior in the movie, The Dark Knight. What happened in Gurdaspur on Monday was no joke and it’s urgent that the Indian security establishment probed this lapse of intelligence rigorously. Had it not been for the heroics of our men in uniform, Monday’s death toll could have been far greater. According to the 2011 census, the population of Gurdaspur district stands at roughly 2.29 million. It has a literacy rate  of 85.9% as compared to Punjab’s 81.5%. It’s safe to say that until Monday Gurdaspur was a sleepy electoral constituency from where Vinod Khanna was elected a whopping four times. 

As the dust and the blood settles on the soil of Gurdaspur, the terrorist attack has left several families bereaved. That includes the family of martyr Baljit Singh. Eerily, history repeated itself in the death of Gurdaspur SP (detective) Baljit Singh, who was killed fighting terrorists in Dinanagar town on Monday. The officer’s father, ASI <g data-gr-id="32">Achhar</g> Singh, too had heroically lost his life in a similar fashion 31 years ago during a search operation in Moga district. 

On <g data-gr-id="40">Monday</g> a few petty criminals crossed over from Pakistan and hijacked a white Maruti 800. At the end of it, in no small measure due to the valiant efforts of our security forces, these men were dead. A day after the terror strike in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, there’s still little really known about the attack and who carried it out. However, there are clues that hint at the involvement of Pakistani terrorists. According to news reports which could not be independently verified, unnamed government sources have asserted that they had found Global Positional Sets (GPS) from the slain gunmen which showed that they may have begun their operation from the Shakargarh area of Pakistan. Given that Pakistan is already enmeshed in the diplomatic quicksand that the twenty-six eleven attacks have become, and given the ISI’s history of covert duplicitous operations this could be something that seems like a logical explanation of events. 

At the time of writing, what has been confirmed, is the following probable narrative. Geographically, Gurdaspur is extremely vulnerable to infiltration. Logically anyone willing to enter the town from Pakistan would just have to navigate the Ravi and cross into adjoining Dinanagar. This is the route terrorists seemed to have taken. Security experts have also lauded the tactical awareness of the Punjab Police force. While hundreds of army personnel and teams of the elite National Security Guard were rushed to the spot after the terror attack on Dinanagar, the Punjab Police reportedly used its own special team to handle the situation. 

The apparent rationale behind this was to  try and catch one of the gunmen alive, which is why they relied on using their own team of commandos. The Gurdaspur attack is the biggest terror attack in the Punjab in more than a decade. The choice of Gurdaspur as a terror target has come as a surprise not only for the Punjab but for the entire country. It is hoped that the political community which includes the four-time member of Parliament Vinod Khanna who is currently on vacation abroad get to the bottom of this and make the imminent dark night for the next of kin of those who lost their lives on Monday a little less darker.

MPost

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