24 May 2024 07:40 PM



J&K Police Assists Punjab Police in Gurdaspur Encounter

Jammu and Kashmir police on duty in the state

SRINAGAR: One distinct aspect of Monday’s deadly militant attack in Gurdaspur district of neighbouring Punjab, though reported in some newspapers, has gone a little unnoticed.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police rushed in its bullet-proof vehicles to assist Punjab Police in their operation against the militants, who, in a daring attack, had stormed Police Station Dinanagar, in Gurdaspur, on July 27.

At least seven persons, including one Superintendent of Punjab Police, were killed in the attack. Eventually, after a day-long operation, three militants also got killed.

A very senior officer in the Jammu and Kashmir Police told The Citizen that a team led by SP Nasir Ahmad was sent from Kathua region of Jammu to assist Punjab Police. This was done after a request from Punjab Police was received, he said.

“Well, the J&K Police has a vast experience of dealing with militant encounters. We have been dealing with such cases for last two-and-a-half decades. The fact that Gurdaspur is not very far from Kathua also mattered. That’s how we sent our team to deal with the tense situation in Gurdaspur,” the officer said.

K Rajendra, Director General of Jammu & Kashmir Police, confirmed to Rising Kashmir that two bullet-proof vehicles were dispatched to Punjab.

“Our bullet-proof vehicles were used by Punjab Police in the encounter with the militants who had taken refuge inside a police station in Gurdaspur district,” Rajendra said.

Asked whether there was some long-term cooperation between the J&K Police and Punjab Police in anti-militancy operations, another senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity that such cooperation is worked out on “case-to-case” basis, “expertise” and “proximity”.

Soon after the Gurdaspur attack the already tense Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) were sealed and troops placed on “maximum alert”.

“It appears that the Pakistani Army is not happy with Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. It also seems unhappy over what happened recently in Ufa, Russia, where Narendra Modi met his Pakistani counterpart, Sharif. Behind the scenes, it is the army which runs the show in Pakistan. The army has been playing such games for a long time now. This is probably their way of offensive defence,” said a top police officer while commenting on the Gurdaspur assault.

Modi and Sharif met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS summits in Ufa on 10 July.

After the Sharif-Modi meeting the foreign secretaries of both countries issued a joint statement, which skipped the K-word.

According to the Ufa joint statement Modi and Sharif “agreed that India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues.”

The joint statement did not specifically mention Kashmir, which irked many important Kashmiri leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik.

As a mark of protest, both Geelani and Malik later boycotted the ‘Eid Milan’ hosted by the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi while moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq attended the get-together.

However, Kashmir’s head priest voiced his concern over skipping of Kashmir in the Pakistan-India joint statement issued in Russia. It is too early to comment who precisely could be behind the Gurdaspur attack.

Anurag Thakur, the BCCI secretary, while strongly deploring the militant attack in Gurdaspur said that the event puts the Pakistan-India series in jeopardy.

“Cricket and terror can’t go hand in hand,” said Thakur, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Member of Indian Parliament.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed expressed “grief and shock” over the militant attack in Gurdaspur.

In a statement issued to the press, Sayeed stressed for “greater cooperation and information sharing” between the states to succeed in anti-militancy operations in future. He expressed his “heartfelt sympathies” to the bereaved families.

On his part, the former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed his views about Gurdaspur attack on Twitter.

“Will be very interested to see what emerges about the identity of the terrorists involved in the Gurdaspur attack this morning,” Omar tweeted, adding in yet another tweet that “The timing of the attack, methodology and location are all eerily similar to attacks in the border belt of Jammu.”