Panic in Pun­jab again: Lo­cals spot two men in army fa­tigues

Army and po­lice launch mas­sive search op­er­a­tion in Gur­daspur

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ka­maljit Singh Ka­mal let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ KA­MALJIT SINGH KA­MAL /HT

GUR­DASPUR: Panic gripped Pun­jab’s Gur­daspur town on Wed­nes­day evening when res­i­dents of vil­lages on the out­skirts re­ported see­ing two men in mil­i­tary fa­tigues act­ing sus­pi­ciously near an army can­ton­ment.

Po­lice cor­doned off the area and en­forced a black­out in all vil­lages within a five-kilo­me­tre ra­dius as the spot is a short dis­tance away from the Pathankot air force base where six ter­ror­ists and seven In­dian sol­diers were killed in a days-long en­counter that ended on Mon­day.

The lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion made an­nounce­ments through loud­speak­ers at two gur­d­waras about the pres­ence of sus­pected Pak­istani ter­ror­ists, with au­thor­i­ties say­ing they could tar­get the Tibri mil­i­tary sta­tion.

The mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity has a large num­ber of army es­tab­lish­ments from var­i­ous reg­i­ments as well as their fam­i­lies. It re­port­edly also has a large cache of arms, am­mu­ni­tion and ex­plo­sives apart from tanks, can­nons and mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles.

Wit­nesses said the two men were wear­ing dark sun­glasses, were heav­ily armed and when con­fronted they hid in a nearby sug­ar­cane field.

Gur­daspur deputy com­mis­sioner Ab­hi­nav Trikha, SSP Gur­preet Singh Toor and se­nior army of­fi­cers rushed to the area to oversee a joint search.

“The lo­cal vil­lagers in­formed us about two sus­pi­cious men in army fa­tigues close to the army can­ton­ment area,” Toor told AFP.

“We have since launched a search op­er­a­tion along with the army in that area. We haven’t yet come up with any­thing but the search is still on.”

Of­fi­cials also said army for­ma­tions have been put on alert fol­low­ing re­ports that five ter­ror­ists have sneaked into the border area of Gur­daspur and Pathankot. Se­cu­rity per­son­nel cor­doned off ar­eas in and around Gur­daspur and en­forced a black­out in all vil­lages within a 5-km ra­dius of where the sus­pects were spot­ted.

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