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Gurdaspur (Punjab): Despite Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in parliament that the three terrorists who launched the attack in Dinanagar town of Punjab’s Gurdaspur district on July 27 had entered India by crossing the Ravi river along the India-Pakistan border, doubts are now being raised about the authenticity of the GPS (global positioning system) coordinates recovered from the killed militants.
“We have not found any evidence of the terrorists using the route (as indicated by the GPS coordinates),” BSF Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police N.K. Mishra told IANS.
Sources in the Border Security Force (BSF), which guards the India-Pakistan border 24×7, pointed out that no traces of the movement of terrorists through the Ravi river route and beyond have been found which could establish that they entered from the Makoda area of Bamiyal sector of Gurdaspur district.
The area borders Pakistan on the west and Jammu and Kashmir on the north.
“It is impossible that no traces were left by the terrorists while crossing the well-guarded river or footmarks on the river bank or even crawling tracks in the wild growth (Sarkanda) in the area.” a BSF source, involved in investigating and tracking the route taken by the terrorists, told IANS in this frontier sector.
“The GPS coordinates found on the equipment recovered from the terrorists could be misleading,” he added.
BSF officers feel that the terrorists could have entered through some place in adjoining Jammu and Kashmir and later arrived in Punjab.
BSF officials also point out that even if the GPS coordinates were to be believed, it was impossible for the terrorists to traverse the terrain so quickly and reach Dinanagar for carrying out the attack.
As per the GPS coordinates recovered, the terrorists entered through the Ravi river in Makoda area and moved along Narowal, Bala Pindi, Chak Alla Baksh (all in Pakistan), railway track near Talwandi village, Chottu Nath Mandir, Dinanagar to Taragarh road, near village Jakhar Pindi to SSM College in Dinanagar.
It was believed that the terrorists followed this route on the intervening night of July 26-27, planted bombs on the railway track near Parmanand railway station and then moved to Dinanagar town for the attack.
The BSF sent a team of its troopers on the route and found that the team took over six hours to reach the railway track alone. This did not include the time taken to cross the river, which is not easy to cross either, and planting of bombs on the railway track.
The attack in Dinanagar started around 5.25 am. The terrorists engaged security forces in an over 11-hour long gun-battle before being neutralized by the Punjab Police.
“The GPS coordinates could have been loaded on the sets to mislead security agencies. The terrain is not easy to move freely. Even otherwise, how could such heavily armed terrorists not be seen by anyone all along even though it was night time,” one officer said.
The Ravi river has Cobra electric wires and the river is guarded round-the-clock with motorboats, day and night devices and floodlights. The river, in the current monsoon season, has a heavy flow of water.
The electrified, barbed wire fencing along the border has also not been breached in the sector, BSF sources said.
Dinanagar (Punjab): Satpal, Darshan Kumar and Nanak Chand are no ordinary people as they are the ones who saved scores of innocent lives in this Punjab town during a terror attack.
While the limelight of the 11-hour long intense gun-battle with terrorists has been hogged by the SWAT and special units of the Punjab Police in Monday’s terror attack on Dinanagar town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, it was the pro-active role played by unsung heroes of this small town which saved scores of lives from the mayhem planned by the terrorists.
The death toll in the terror attack could have been many more than the figure of seven, including one police officer and three home guards personnel, had these three men and their associates not shown alertness and courage.
The terrorists, who had besieged Dinanagar town from 5.30 a.m. on Monday, had planned more casualties by wiring five live bombs on the railway track on a small bridge on the Pathankot-Amritsar railway section.
A tragedy was averted as alert railway staff detected the bombs just five minutes before a train loaded with passengers was to cross the bridge, five km from here.
“I was going to get milk from nearby as I did daily. I saw something wired to the bridge. I sent a youth to inform railway staff about the suspicious things on the bridge,” Satpal, a railway gate man, said.
“The timely detection of the bombs saved many lives,” Satpal added.
Railway employee Darshan Kumar, who was told about the suspicious items on the railway bridge, immediately asked a railway key man to run and get the passenger train stopped.
“I realized that the train had already started from the Parmanand railway station with many passengers. I asked the key man to run and stop the train. He was able to stop it in the nick of time. Otherwise, there would have been so much damage,” said Darshan Kumar, who later went about his daily duty in his khakhi uniform.
The passenger train was carrying over 250 people and the bombs were wired to the track on a small bridge over a rivulet.
“We stopped all trains on the Pathankot-Amritsar section immediately. Four trains run on this section daily. The alertness of the staff saved several lives,” a senior railway official said.
State-run Punjab Roadways bus driver Nanak Chand was another hero of the day.
Chand had never imagined that he would come face to face with terrorists in the early hours of an otherwise normal day.
The driver did not panic even when one terrorist fired at the bus, after trying to signal it to stop. Chand instead scared the terrorist by driving towards him. The firing by the terrorist left 2-3 passengers injured with gunshot wounds.
“I saw a man in army uniform with a scarf covering his face and carrying a weapon signalling me to stop. I suspected trouble as army people don’t cover their faces. I turned the bus and sped away despite the firing,” Nanak Chand said.
The driver took the bus towards Gurdaspur town, nearly 20 km away, and stopped at the civil hospital to enable the injured to get treatment. He then informed the police about the incident.
There were over 70 passengers in the bus at that time when the incident took place around 5.30 am. The bus was on its way from Bamiyal town to Chandigarh.
By NewsGram Staff Writer
In wake of the terror attack in Punjab’s Dinanagar town on Monday which left seven people dead, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal called off his scheduled meeting later this week with Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, an official said.
The meeting between Badal and Basit was to be held on July 29 in Chandigarh.
Harcharan Bains, advisor to chief minister on national affairs and media, said that the meeting was called off “in view of today’s incident at Dinanagar in Gurdaspur district”.
Bains said that the Pakistani mission had requested for a courtesy call during Basit’s visit to Chandigarh this week.
(With inputs from IANS)
By NewsGram Staff Writer
Pakistan on Monday condemned the terror attack in the Indian state of Punjab in which seven people — three civilians and four security personnel — were killed during an 11-hour gun battle.
“Pakistan extends heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the government and people of India and wish the wounded speedy and full recovery,” Dawn quoted Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah as saying in a release.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist incident in Gurdaspur, India, today, in which a number of precious lives have been lost. There are reports of others having suffered injuries. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families,” the release said.
“Pakistan reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We extend heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Government and people of India and wish the wounded speedy and full recovery,” the release said.
The attack took place earlier in the day in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district when terrorists in army fatigues hijacked a car reportedly near the Pakistan border, drove to Dinanagar, opened fire at a bus stand and then stormed a police station. All three terrorists were killed in the gun battle.
(With inputs from IANS)