Joint counter-terrorism unit in state gets Centre’s approval

CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI: In a bid to check attempts to help terrorism in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and ahead of the opening of Kartarpur Corridor as well as the threat of Sikh Referendum 2020, the Centre today finalised opening of a joint counter-terrorism operation centre in Punjab.

Joint counter-terrorism unit in state gets Centre’s approval

Photo for representational purpose only.

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/New Delhi, Oct 22

In a bid to check attempts to help terrorism in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and ahead of the opening of Kartarpur Corridor as well as the threat of Sikh Referendum 2020, the Centre today finalised opening of a joint counter-terrorism operation centre in Punjab.

It will have both intelligence gathering and operation powers besides equipped with counter-cyber warfare as well as interception. The centre will be either based in Amritsar or Chandigarh.

This centre will have a joint body of officials, personnel from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Border Security Force (BSF), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Punjab Police. DGP Dinkar Gupta had been pushing for setting up of such a centre in the region.

All security agencies have been asked to nominate officials and personnel for posting with the joint centre. The Union government had earlier set up a joint operation centre in Amritsar to combat cross-border smuggling and narco-terrorism. This centre has representatives from the Customs Department, Narcotics Control Bureau, Punjab Police, Border security forces and other intelligence agencies.

As per sources, representatives of the agencies met in New Delhi today to approve the plan. This was a carry forward of a September 17 meeting in New Delhi where the plan for such an operation was mooted.

The agencies are moving with alacrity for the project as the past two months has seen several attempts by Pakistan-based agencies and groups to revive terrorism in Punjab or to use state’s border route to infiltrate terrorists to Jammu-Kashmir or to supply arms and ammunition to them.

Particular concern was about the use of drone by groups from Pakistan to drop weapons or drugs in the state. The Punjab Police had claimed at least five such sorties were made by drones from Pakistan.

To keep eye on anti-social elements

The joint counter-terrorism operation centre will have both intelligence gathering and operation powers besides equipped with counter-cyber warfare as well as interception. The centre will be either based in Amritsar or Chandigarh. Its objective is to keep an eye on anti-social elements in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. DGP Dinkar Gupta had been pushing for setting up of such a centre in the region.

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