Punjab police on Friday launched a massive cordon and search operation (CASO) in Pathankot and Gurdaspur districts bordering Pakistan, acting on intelligence inputs about a possible terror strike in the state, said top officials.
The move comes in the backdrop of reports that drones operated by Pakistan-based elements had dropped weapons including assault rifles and grenades in Punjab last month.
Over 5,000 police personnel are taking part in the search operation led by Ishwar Singh, additional director of police (law and order), and Rakesh Chandra, ADGP (Special Operations Group and Commandos), which will continue for three days, according to the officials cited above.
The decision to launch this operation, it is learnt, was taken during a meeting chaired by Punjab police chief Dinkar Gupta in Jalandhar in which officials from, air force, military intelligence, Border Security Force (BSF) as well as National Investigation Agency (NIA) participated.
All agencies shared information about threat perception in these districts, after which some “vulnerable points” were identified, one of the officials with knowledge of the matter said.
Last month, security forces confirmed at least eight drone sorties, carrying a total of 80 kg of weapons, were sent across the border into Punjab by Pakistan-based Khalistani terror groups .
Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said on Friday the primary aim of the operation was to instil confidence in the general masses that everything is fine.
“We would extend this operation in other border districts as well,” said Gupta who denied any “specific terror alert” as the reason for this massive
Meanwhile, the district administrations have asked every hospital of Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala to keep at least 8 beds ready for emergency use, said Dr Bhupinder Singh, senior medical officer (SMO) Pathankot.
Last month, Intelligence Bureau (IB) had sounded an alert in these districts that a few Jaish-e-Mohammad and Laskar-e-Taiba terrorists might try to sneak into Punjab from Bamyal sector, following which Punjab police beefed up security.