Rajnath links Gurdaspur attack to Pakistan

Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Linking the >Gurdaspur attack to Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the three terrorists had infiltrated from there to carry out the strike and asserted that the government will do everything possible to prevent cross-border terrorism.

Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on Monday’s attack in Punjab, he said, “Any effort by the enemies of our nation to undermine India’s territorial integrity and security or imperil the safety and security of our citizens will meet an effective and forceful response from our security forces.”

The government “has been and will remain resolute in this regard”, he said.

Mr. Singh made the statement amid din created by Congress members which was strongly disapproved of by Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who said it was “not politics” but a “statement on a terrorist attack” that concerns the security of the country.

However, as the unrelenting Congress members continued to shout slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Singh said, “I take this opportunity to assure the House that the government is firmly to root out terrorism from India.”

The Home Minister also assured the House that “the government will do everything possible to prevent cross-border terrorism aimed against India.”

Giving details of the attack in Punjab, he said, “Preliminary analyses of >GPS data indicates that the terrorists had infiltrated from Pakistan through the area near Tash in Gurdaspur district, where the Ravi river enters Pakistan.”

It is also suspected, he said, that the same terrorists had planted five IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) on the railway track near Talwandi village between Dinanagar and Jhakoladi which were subsequently defused by the bomb disposal squad. A night vision device was also recovered from the spot.

“The security forces in the border are alert but the difficult terrain coupled with recent heavy rains, resulting in excess flow in the rivers and canals along the border, could have been a factor, in this particular group sneaking into Punjab,” the Home Minister said.

He said that during the last one month, there were five attempts at cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir sector, out of which four were interdicted and eight terrorists neutralised.

In the remaining one instance, the terrorists went back after effective retaliation by the Indian forces.

Mr. Singh hailed the Punjab Police for engaging the terorrists “effectively” and said all efforts were made to apprehend the attackers and prevent their escape besides avoiding any collateral damage.

The Army and NSG were placed on standby to support the Punjab Police opertions, he said, adding the Union Home Ministry monitored the situation closely and was in constant touch with the Punjab government.

“In the end, all the three terrorists were neutralised in this successful operation,” Mr. Singh said and added with regret that Superintendent of Police (Detective) Baljeet Singh, “who was leading from front”, was martyred.

During the operation, the BSF and the Army were placed on high alert along the border, he said.

“I personally spoke to the Chief Minister of Punjab (Parkash Singh Badal) and assured him of all assistance from the central government,” Mr. Singh added.

While he spoke, the Congress members, carrying placards, were shouting slogans in the Well against the Prime Minister and his government over the terror attack.

The slogans included: “ 56 inch ki chhati hai hai (down with the 56-inch chest) and Narendra Modi hai hai (down with Narendra Modi) and NDA government hai hai (down with the NDA government).”

In his statement, the Home Minister narrated the sequence of events of July 27 when three heavily-armed terrorists dressed in Army uniforms struck in Gurdaspur at around 5.30 a.m. and stormed the police station, leading to a 12-hour gunbattle.

The Punjab Police have recovered a number of “incriminating material” including three AK rifles, 19 magazines and two GPS devices from the dead terrorists, which are being analysed for further necessary action, he said.

In the terror attack, three civilians, three Home Guards and one police officer lost their lives, he said, adding 10 civilians and seven security force personnel were also injured.

“I place on record my sincere appreciation for the successful operation conducted by the Punjab Police,” Mr. Singh said.

“The government offers its heartfelt condolences to the families of civilians and security force personnel killed in this terror attack and wishes the speedy recovery of injured persons,” he added.

As the din continued even after Mr. Singh’s statement, Mr. Kurien at about 2.10 p.m. adjourned the House till Friday.

Earlier in the day, soon after the House assembled, it condemned the Gurdaspur terrorist attack.

Chairman Hamid Ansari referred to the Gurdaspur terror strike and said “this dastardly attack is deporable“.

The loss of lives in the strike was tragic and unfortunate, he said, adding the House “condemns the terrorist attack“.

He affirmed the firm resolve of the country to confront such attacks with determination.

Members then stood in silence as mark of respect to the departed.

Mr. Ansari then adjourned the House till 2 p.m. since the funeral of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was underway at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.

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Printable version | Sep 15, 2022 3:17:00 am |