Gurdaspur: In a major terror attack, three terrorists on Monday attacked passengers in a moving bus and stormed a police station, killing seven persons in Punjab's Gurdaspur.
The terrorists, believed to have come from Pakistan and suspected to be members of either Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) or Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), were gunned down after a day-long operation by the police and elite commandos of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT).
However, There was no official word on who the attackers were but they are suspected to have sneaked into India from Pakistan through the unfenced border between Jammu and Pathankot or Chak Hira in Jammu district, according to inputs received by central agencies, as per PTI.
Among those killed were four policemen (Superintendent of Police (Detective), Baljit Singh, a Punjab provincial service officer, three home guards) and three civilians.
In the pre-dawn attack, the terrorists, in army fatigues first targeted a roadside eatery, then sprayed bullets on a passenger bus and later barged into the Dinanagar police station. They snatched a white Maruti 800 car and moved about in it before abandoning it. The gunmen barged into the Dinanagar police station and opened indiscriminate fire.
Director General of Punjab Police, Sumedh Singh Saini, who led the operation against the terrorists holed up in an abandoned building near the police station, said that 15 people were injured of whom three were in a serious condition.
He also said that Chinese-made weapons and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) were recovered from them, Saini said.
"The terrorists were carrying sophisticated weapons. We have recovered 'Made in China' grenades from them. They were wearing combat fatigues," Saini told reporters.
Saini said AK 47 guns and hand grenades were recovered from the terrorists, who attacked the sentry at the police station before engaging with the SHO and the SP.
He described the attack as "planned" as their modus operandi pointed at a specific direction.
There was heavy firing from both the sides, Saini said on the gun battle between the police and terrorists.
An alert has been sounded along the international border in Punjab and Jammu as the terrorists are suspected to have infiltrated from there, the sources said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he will make a statement on the issue tomorrow in Parliament, where members today sought a detailed government response.
The Home Minister later held a high-level meeting in which Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Adviser AK Doval, BSF Director General DK Pathak and officials of para-military forces and intelligence agencies were present.
After the meeting, the Home Ministry said the minister appreciated the operation of the Punjab government and various measures discussed to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future.
A top official told reporters after the meeting that the attack was "serious". He was replying to a question whether the government considered it a big attack.
"I don't know whether it is big or small. It is serious," he said.
Dinanagar town, which is close to Pakistan, falls in Gurdaspur district. It is sandwiched between Gurdaspur town on the one side and Pathankot on the other and lies about 260 km from capital Chandigarh.
On October 14, 2007, seven persons were killed and more than 30 were injured when a powerful explosion took place at the cinema hall in Ludhiana, the last major terror attack in the state which had grappled with Sikh militancy for several years from 1980s.
Pakistan condemns terror attack in Punjab
Meanwhile, Pakistan today condemned the terror attack in Punjab.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist incident in Gurdaspur, India, today, in which a number of precious lives have been lost. There are reports of others having suffered injuries. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families," a Pakistan Foreign Office statement said.
The Foreign Office statement added, "Pakistan reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We extend heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the Government and people of India and wish the wounded speedy and full recovery."
(With PTI inputs)