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Gurdaspur Attack: Is India well equipped to deal with terror?

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Gurdaspur-Attack

By Aishwarya Nag Choudhury

Terrorists attacked Punjab’s Dinanagar Police Station in Gurudaspur district in the early hours of July 27, killing six and injuring as many as eighteen people. Among the deceased were SP detective Baljeet Singh, two home guards, a policeman, and three civilians. The attack that started at 5.30 am continued for twelve hours, until the police and the security neutralized the threat by killing all the three terrorists.

The terrorists were holed up in a sanitation site in a vacant building adjacent to Dinanagar police station. The MHA report reveals that the militants were heavily armed with 2 GPS, 3 AK-47, 10 magazines, and 2 China made grenades. The MHA further suspects that the assailants belonged to the extremist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed. The terrorists struck a civilian bus and showered it with bullets. They attempted to attack the health center and then targeted the residential complex of the Police station and hurled grenades before open firing on the police station. The local police said that the terrorists attacked a roadside shop, killing a vendor before fleeing in a Maruti 800 which had a Punjab registration.

Additionally in a nearby train track, a set of five bombs were located, suggesting a series of pre-planned attacks to mark the anniversary of a near-war between India and Pakistan in 1999. Fortunately, even though a train passed at 5.15 am, the bombs did not explode due to wiring problems, said Deputy SP of Police (Pathankot) Prabhjot Singh Virk. However, the IEDs were not diffused until the Bomb Disposal Unit arrived from Jalandhar. Army commandos and a Quick Response Team (QRT) were also summoned.

Is India properly equipped to deter terrorist attacks? Are we safe?

Though the three terrorists were killed in the combat, and one left injured, the question remains: Is India equipped to deter terror attacks? After all, this unforeseen event claimed six lives and left many injured.

The Prime Minister met Union Minister Manohar Parrikar, Arun Jaitley, and Venkaiah Naidu to discuss the security situation of the country. Thereafter, security along the border with Pakistan has been tightened. Jitendra Singh, a junior minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, said to the media that he did not rule out Pakistan’s involvement.

“There have been earlier reports of Pakistan infiltration and cross-border mischief in this area,” said Singh, whose constituency is in the Jammu region bordering Gurdaspur. The attack in Punjab was eerily similar to attacks in the border belt of Jammu, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said on twitter. “Will be very interested to see what emerges about the identity of the terrorists involved in the Gurdaspur attack this morning,” he tweeted. Rajnath Singh spoke to the head of the Security Force and gave instructions to increase the vigil of India.

Terrorism is a global threat, the combat of which is imperative for the security of all nations. However, in the case of a country like India, which has been the victim to many unfortunate attacks in the past, the level of security and vigilance has to be increased.

Of the total allocation for defense for 2015, the army will get Rs 1,04,158.95 crores, the navy Rs 15,525.64 crores, the air force Rs 23,000.09 crores, the ordnance factories Rs 2,884.23 crores, and the Defense Research and Development Organizations Rs 6,570.09 crores. The remaining amount of Rs 94,588 crores has been allotted on the capital account for the acquisition of modern weapon systems, including initial payments for 126 multi-mission, medium-range combat aircraft, 197 light helicopters, and 145 Ultra-light Howitzers, among others. Even after ample funds, the security of the country can be questioned. Neither the Bomb Disposal Unit, nor the Commandos of the QRT could reach on time. Moreover, the local police were not adequately armed to combat the terrorists and thus the gunfight continued for over ten hours.

The attack on Punjab just after the celebration of Kargil Diwas raises doubts about the credibility of security in the country, just as it did during the Mumbai attacks. With the death of civilians, one may ask – does our territory guarantee our safety? Or is India going to be the relentless victim of global terror attacks in the years to come?

The attack on Punjab also altered foreign relations which India holds with other nations. The attack took place in the aftermath of the Modi-Sharif talks at Ufa, Russia. The two leaders spoke about reviving their stalled dialogue that would help accelerate the trial in the Mumbai 26/11 attack case. However, Pakistan is being suspected to be involved in the Punjab attacks, and this has strained the relations between the two countries.

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)