Terror strike could have been prevented, says Vohra

‘BSF not well equipped to guard the border’.

Updated - November 17, 2021 03:10 am IST

Published - January 19, 2016 04:02 pm IST - New Delhi

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra said on Tuesday that Pathankot terror strike could have been prevented if lessons had been learnt from previous such attacks with focus on securing the country's border with Pakistan which is not yet “well guarded.”

Speaking about the infiltrations by terror groups through the international border (IB), including the recent attack on Pathankot air base, Mr. Vohra said the BSF with its limited capacities cannot guard the IB (in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab) which is a long stretch of over 200 to 250 km.

The Governor who was here to deliver a key note address on seventh National Investigation Agency (NIA) day, noted that the five-six terror attacks which took place since September 2013 via Kathua-Samba districts through the IB, part of which falls in J&K, should have been followed up as closely as the Pathankot attack.

He said the attack on Dina Nagar police station in Gurdaspur could have been avoided, if the previous terror attacks were subjected to a tight investigation. “...and if Dina Nagar would have been properly investigated, Pathankot, I am sure would have been almost impossible because we would have been able to know the routes taken by the terror groups to infiltrate the IB. I also hold very strongly that IB is not well guarded,” Mr. Vohra, who has been the Governor of the border State for last eight years, said.

The Governor, who has also served as Union Home and Defence Secretary besides Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister in 1997, maintained that he had informed the Centre about it.

“I think there are issues...but we need to do much more. The BSF, with its present capacities, cannot safeguard IB which is long stretch of over 200 to 250 km almost including the border in Punjab. It is a difficult area and we need to look at that,” he said. He was replying to a question over the reluctance of the State governments in handing over terror cases to the Central probe agencies. The Punjab government had refused to hand over the Dina Nagar police station attack probe to the NIA.

The July 2015 terror attack on a police station in Dina Nagar in Gurdaspur district of Punjab resulted in 10 deaths, including that of three terrorists. Superintendent of Police Baljeet Singh was also killed in the attack.

He said continuous political interference lowers the morale of the State police.

Mr. Vohra said the State governments opposed the NIA from taking over cases and at times the probe was given after “prolonged delays” when the local police had already filed charge sheet.

He advocated that agencies like the NIA should be allowed to take suo motu cognisance of terror cases and suggested that changes in the legal process should be made to avoid such hindrances.

The Governor said that such situations could be prevented if leaders like the Home Minister calls the Chief Ministers concerned and convince them about shifting of the case.

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