CHANDIGARH: A massive combing operation has been started in the three border districts of Gurdaspur, Batala and Pathankot in Punjab to neutralise the sleeper cells of Pakistan-based militant groups. The move was initiated following intel inputs that more Pakistani drones carrying arms will soon enter the state.
According to intel input, terrorists are planning multiple blasts in several cities in Punjab and even target a few politicians during the upcoming festival season.
More than 5,000 Punjab Police personnel along with 45 SP and DSP rank officers, 22 SSP rank officers and personnel of Border Security Force (BSF) are taking part in the combing operation. This kind of an operation is taking place after three decades in the state. This operation is being carried out under the charge of Additional DGP (Law and Order) Ishwar Singh and Additional DGP (Special Operations Group and Commandos) Rakesh Chandra.
The terrorists' plan was exposed after police busted a Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) module and arrested nine people a few days ago. The accused revealed that they were planning to carry out attacks in various cities and a few prominent politicians. They also admitted that they were following instructions of their handlers in Pakistan and Germany. Two drones and arms were later recovered from them, according to highly placed sources.
"The operation was started after we got vital inputs from the members of KZF module. The combing operation started yesterday (Friday) will be finished tomorrow (Sunday) evening. This kind of operation is taking place after three decades in the state. The last time we carried out such operation was in the 1990s during days of terrorism," said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
Last month, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had alerted the state police that Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists might sneak into the state.
On December 30, 2015, four Pakistani terrorists - Abdul Qayum, Nasir Hussain, Umar Farooq and Hafiz Abu Bakar - infiltrated into India through the forest area via Bamiyal near Simbal in Pathankot and attacked the Pathankot Air Force Base on January 1, 2016. " We are now scanning every nook and corner in all the border villages, forest areas, cities and towns," said an officer.
The Army and Pathankot Air Force station are also on high alert. Besides, the security near the Kartarpur corridor site has been tightened.