New Delhi: No one has been taken hostage in the militant attack at Punjab’s Dinanagar town, said union minister Kirren Rijiju on Monday.
“Yes there have been reports that there was a terror attack at the Punjab border (town) but as of now there is no information regarding hostages being held. We are looking into it and once I get some more information, I will come out with it,” Rijiju said.
The minister of state for home affairs also said that “…since the attacks are really serious, we can’t reveal any data as of now as the operation is on”.
Militants struck at Dinanagar town, leaving at least one person dead.
“All the security forces have been alerted. Everyone is on alert. If needed anyone and everyone will be rushed to the spot,” he said.
The minister said that the NSG commandos and army personnel have joined the operation at Dinanagar.
In a joint operation, Border Security Forces (BSF) troopers and the Punjab Police have recovered 22kg of heroin in Punjab’s Ferozepur sector following exchange of fire with Pakistani smugglers near the international border, a BSF officer said on Saturday.
The encounter took place late on Friday following a tip-off that smugglers were trying to send heroin consignment into India.
At least one Pakistani smuggler was injured in the exchange of fire as blood stains were found during search of the area on Saturday, BSF officer D.S. Rajpurohit said.
The BSF recovered a pistol and one Pakistani Sim card.
The BSF also arrested three Indian smugglers who were waiting close to the border fence to collect the heroin consignment.
The smugglers were trying to smuggle the heroin consignment using a plastic pipe across the border fence.
The heroin is worth nearly Rs 110 crore in the international market.
The Ferozepur border is around 275 km from here.
Punjab shares a 553-km-long barbed-wire fenced international border with Pakistan. (IANS)
Pakistani officials have said that stubble burning by Indian farmers has caused a thick blanket of smog in Punjab province which led to smog in Pakistan as well.
The officials with Environment Protection Department of Punjab province told Xinhua news agency on Saturday night that the smog is causing various diseases and the provincial government is taking measures to control the situation.
The department’s minister Zakia Shah Nawaz Khan said that the smog engulfed the province for the last two weeks, and is feared to continue for the coming week.
She added that the smoke from the Indian farms moved at a velocity of 7 to 8 km per hour towards Punjab province.
Local experts said that the total Air Quality Index in the provincial capital of Lahore is 357 whereas the maximum limit should be around 100, adding that if the situation was not controlled, the level is feared to exceed 500 soon.
Syed Mubashir Hussain, an official of the environment department said that the provincial government has banned stubble burning across the province and violators were being arrested.
A total of 197 First Information Reports have been filed against violators and 65 people have been arrested due to stubble burning and solid waste burning.
Some 175 pollution-causing units have been stopped. About 15,718 smoke emitting vehicles have been confiscated, and a total of 43 lakh Pakistani rupees (about $43,000) fine has been imposed, Hussain told Xinhua.
Apart from this, brick kilns using substandard fuel and running their units without emission control devices like wet scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators and fly ash arrestors have also been closed, he added.
Smog in Pakistan has not only affected the health of people but also caused road accidents. According to local media reports, at least 18 people have been killed and 45 others injured in separate fog-related accidents across the province.