Will give befitting reply to terror attack: Rajnath

Nearly 24 hours after terrorists abducted a senior police officer, security agencies in Punjab failed to trace them.

January 02, 2016 11:29 am | Updated November 17, 2021 04:55 am IST - New Delhi/Pathankot

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that India had prior intelligence inputs about an impending attack by a fidayeen (suicide squad) group and the security was upped in Punjab, subsequently.

The National Security Guard (NSG) commandos were mobilised and were dispatched to Punjab as soon as the news of the carjacking of Superintendent of Police (SP) of Punjab was flashed Friday noon.

A high-level meet was convened in Delhi on Friday and it was chaired by NSA Ajit Doval after it became clear that the carjacking had terror links.

How the attack was plotted

The alleged terrorists snatched an SUV, in which the SP Salwinder Singh, his friend Rajesh Verma and Singh’s cook Madan were travelling together in the early hours on Friday. After driving for two kilometres, they took away Singh’s phone and threw them out of the vehicle on the Jammu-Pathankot Highway.

The group was dressed in army fatigues and it is suspected that the same group attacked the Pathankot base early morning Saturday.

“The security agencies as well as the Punjab Police was alerted about a possible terror attack and they were asked to beef up the security of vital installations specially the defence structures,” said a senior government official.

The terrorists suspected to belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Pakistan based terrorist outfit, made at least four calls to Bahawalpur in Pakistan from the mobile phone they snatched from the SP.

The calls were intercepted and it could become clear that they group was receiving instructions from Pakistan to attack defence installations including the Pathankot air base, an official said.

Investigating agencies are also reported to have recovered a piece of paper from one of the two vehicles, which was snatched by the alleged terrorists. The paper showed some links to JeM.

Mr. Singh said any attack will be given a befitting reply even as India wants good relations with Pakistan.

"Pakistan is our neighbouring country. We want good relations with not just Pakistan but with all our neighbours. We also want peace but if there is any terror attack on India, we will give a befitting reply," he said.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team has reached the site of attack.

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