Eight people were killed in a suspected fidayeen attack when three suicide attackers, clad in army uniform, went on a terror spree in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The attack soon morphed into a 12 hours long encounter as the terrorists, holed up in a local police station, exchanged fire with police and the army.
According to Punjab police, the operation to “flush out” terrorists was successfully called off slightly before 5:30 pm after all the three suspected terrorists were killed by the security forces.
The identities of the three assailants is yet to be established.
It all began early on Monday when the suicide attackers opened gun fire at the passenger bus and then attacked a police station in Gurdaspur district early morning on Monday. The dead includes three civilians and five personnel of Punjab Police, including an SP rank officer Baljit Singh. Besides, fifteen others were left injured, with one policeman reported to be in a critical state.
According to the probe so far, the flurry of attacks began early from around 5 am on Monday when three heavily armed terrorists first attacked the roadside eatery off the Amaritsar-Pathankot state highway killing one person who was said to be sleeping nearby. They then carjacked one Maruti 800 and opened an indiscriminate fire on the moving Punjab roadways bus on route to Gurdaspur from Jammu. The bus was coming to Punjab side from Jammu and Kashmir on the highway. The attackers then stormed the nearby Dinanagar Police Station and opened fire at the police personnel.
According to the local police, the attackers also targeted a community health centre adjacent Dinanagar police station, in which a policeman and three civilians including a woman who were present in the premises were killed.
The whole area was cordoned off and the Army, along with the local police, was pressed in to launch a counter-offensive at the terrorists. Apart from the gun fire, the terrorists also threw grenades at the security forces.
“I have spoken to the Punjab Chief Minister, who apprised me of the developing situation in Gurdaspur. Security forces have rushed to the spot,” Union Home minister Rajnath Singh had told the press in New Delhi early on Monday.
The Union Home Minister will also be making a statement over the incident in Lok Sabha tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, Rajnath Singh spoke to the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval whereas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also learnt to have called a high-level meeting over the incidence.
Quick Reaction Teams, bomb squads, heavy police including senior officers, besides two army helicopters were also deployed in the area which lies close to the India-Pakistan International Border.
In a related development, five live bombs were also recovered from the Pathankot-Gurdaspur railway track. However, no damage to the tracks or any railway property was reported.
(With inputs from the PTI)