By Rupesh Dutta
There was urgent need for a concrete policy against terrorism to prevent incidents like Monday’s terror attack in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, former state police chief K.P.S. Gill said, adding that political parties should desist from hyping such attacks.
Gill, 81, who is credited with rooting out militancy in Punjab about two decades back, said India should be firm about its policy concerning Pakistan.
Other security experts IANS spoke to also said that India needs to adopt a tough approach in dealing with its western neighbour.
Gill said tackling terrorism was not child’s play and there was need to take concrete policy measures rather than indulging in rhetoric.
“Politicians should stop giving hype to such attacks and instead get together and formulate a policy to curb terrorism.
Three civilians and four security personnel, including a superintendent of police, were killed early Monday when three heavily-armed terrorists suspected to have infiltrated from Pakistan went on a killing spree in Dinanagar town of Gurdaspur district, shattering two decades of calm in Punjab.
All three attackers were killed after an 11-hour gun battle.
Gill said the attack did not signal that Khalistani groups were trying to revive militancy in Punjab.
However, he said there were still a lot of pockets in Punjab and its borders with Pakistan where people harboured pro-Khalistan ideology.
He said such thinking needs to be rooted out before tackling the menace beyond Indian borders. Gill said it was disappointing to see political leaders creating “media-hype” after a major terror strike.
“I wonder why all this? Instead, why not formulate a policy aimed at retaliating against militant groups and their masterminds? Why go soft every time even after knowing where they (terrorists) come from,” Gill said.
Gill denied that intelligence failure was a major reason for Monday’s terror attack, saying that cross-border terror groups keep making persistent efforts to carry out their designs and are able to penetrate and carry out attacks only a few times.
Strategic expert Brigadier S.K. Chatterji (retd) said India will continue to be prone to such attacks if the government does not firm up its stance vis-a-vis Pakistan and terror outfits operating from its soil.
“Retaliation is the answer to such terror attacks. The actual reason behind the Gurdaspur attack will come to light after some days. I feel there is a need for consistency and toughness,” Chatterji told IANS.
He said India’s intelligence-gathering apparatus also needed to be strengthened.
Chatterji said there was need for the Indian Army to observe more closely how militants were misusing the border areas and take necessary counter-measures.
He said the Gurdaspur terror attack was an attempt to shatter the hard-won peace in Punjab.
“There is a need to intensify patrolling along the border and monitor movements carefully,” he said.
E.M. Rammohan, former director general of Border Security Force, said Indian security agencies needed to understand how militants struck in a border area.
He said either they were foreigners who infiltrated and reached the civilian areas in Dinanagar with their arms and ammunition or they could be members of Pakistan-based outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir or Punjab.
Dinanagar is about 15 km from the international border from Pakistan.
Rammohan also said that the government should not follow a policy of vacillation towards Pakistan by sometimes going soft on its approach to talks.
(With inputs from IANS)