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Posted at: Jul 28, 2015, 1:40 AM; last updated: Jul 28, 2015, 1:40 AM (IST)PEACE SHATTERED IN PUNJAB

Terror attack in Gurdaspur; SP among seven killed

Encounter ends, 3 terrorists slain after they storm Dinanagar police station; blast on rail track averted

Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Dinanagar (Gurdaspur), July 27

Three heavily-armed terrorists wearing army fatigues, believed to have come from Pakistan, sprayed bullets on a bus and stormed a police station in Dinanagar town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district killing seven persons, including an SP, before they were gunned down during a daylong operation on Monday.

The terrorists killed seven persons — two civilians, Superintendent of Police (Detective) Baljit Singh, two home guards and two policemen.

The toll may go up as some of the 15 injured were in a serious condition.

(In pictures: Punjab terror siege)

“The operation is over,” a top Punjab police official said at the end of a fierce gunbattle involving Punjab police and commandos of the elite Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) that lasted nearly 12 hours.

Combing operations continued for some time after the multiple attacks in which 15 others were injured.

Weapons and a Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment were recovered from the building where the terrorists were holed up.

According to Punjab Police IG (Counter Intelligence) Gaurav Yadav, SP (Detective) Baljit Singh succumbed to bullet injuries sustained in the gunbattle.

Three militants were killed in the operation, Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Abhinav Trikha said.

(Read also: No cricket ties with Pakistan as of now, says BCCI)

“The terrorists were carrying sophisticated weapons. We have recovered ‘Made in China’ grenades from them. They were wearing combat fatigues,” Director General of Punjab Police, Sumedh Singh Saini told reporters.

“The mission was successful. Difficulties are always there but with the help of our training, we successfully overcame them in handling the situation,” a SWAT officer said.

Intelligence inputs suggested that the terrorists could have come from Narowal in Pakistan and made their way south after infiltrating from the Jammu-Samba area. 

Dinanagar police station SHO Mukhtiar Singh was among the injured.

Even as the Army had moved troops, including Special Forces, to Dinanagar following the terror attack, the Punjab Police handled the operation on their own. 

The sequence of events, according to the police:

- Around 5:30 am, three terrorists wearing Army uniforms and heavily armed attempted to snatch a ‘tempo’, but did not succeed.

- At a dhaba, they snatched a Maruti 800 car belonging to Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Dinanagar.

- They drove off and fired at Pathankot Depot bus (PB-06-G-9569), going from Bamial to Chandigarh, injuring three persons.

- Passersby at the spot, Tarun Gehrotra, Upjeet Singh, Satish Kumar, Raman, Suresh Kumar, Sardari Lal, Sarbjit Singh and Jarnail Singh, also injured in the firing.

- Terrorists next entered Dinanagar police station and opened heavy fire, in which SHO Mukhtiar Singh, Head Constable Ram Lal, and Home Guard Rajinder Kumar were injured. Two Home Guards jawans were also killed in the exchange of fire.

- Indiscriminate fire by terrorists at the police station also killed two persons, Gulam Rasool and Asha Rani. They were admitted to the adjoining Kiran Hospital.

This was the first major terror attack in Punjab following the assassination of then Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.

Sound of firing and grenades could be heard hours after the first shots were fired by the militants.

The police station, an adjoining government hospital, residential quarters inside the police station and nearby private houses were quickly cordoned off by security forces, including Army personnel.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he had spoken to DK Pathak, Director-General of the Border Security Force (BSF), and instructed him to step up the vigil on India-Pakistan border in the wake of the attack in Gurdaspur.

Dinanagar town is about 15 km from the India-Pakistan border and 25 km from the border of Jammu and Kashmir state. It is about 235 km from Chandigarh.

Additional Director-General of Punjab Police, Dinkar Gupta, told media the "attack took the Dinanagar police by surprise".

SP (Detective) Baljit Singh, who was killed in the attack, hailed from Shahkot in Jalandhar. His family is currently living in Kapurthala. His father, Achhar Ram, who too was in the Punjab Police, had also died in an encounter. 

Rail tragedy averted

In a related development, five live bombs were found on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway track.

The bombs were found by passersby on a bridge near Parmanand railway station on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway section, who informed security forces. Trains on the route were stopped immediately.

A major railway tragedy was averted as the bombs had been carefully wired to the railway track at a small bridge near Parmanand railway station, 5km from Dinanagar. A police spokesman told media that the army bomb disposal unit had defused the bombs.

A train, which was to pass over the track, was stopped just 200 metres from the spot where the bombs had been planted. — With inputs from IANS and PTI

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