My tip-off prevented major terror attack: Punjab SP

Gurdaspur (Punjab), Jan 5 (IANS) Punjab Superintendent of Police (SP) Salwinder Singh on Tuesday said his timely information ahead of the attack on the IAF base in Pathankot alerted security agencies and prevented a major terror strike.

The SP had claimed he was abducted by five heavily armed men as he was returning after visiting a shrine on December 31 night. Senior police officers were allegedly wary of his claim on his abduction.


The SP said his sports utility vehicle was stopped and he and two others abducted around 11.30 pm on Thursday night (December 31). The attack at the Indian Air Force base took place around 3.30 a.m. on Saturday (January 2).

“My information was 1,000 percent true. There is no doubt about it. After I was dumped by my captors I freed myself and went to a nearby village Golpur Simbli. I told the villagers who I was. I then called up my superiors and gave them the information on my abduction.

“My information prevented a major (terror) incident. They could have done big damage had I not told about my abduction,” Salwinder told the media here.

Salwinder Singh, who is under transfer from the border district of Gurdaspur, said he had informed his senior officers about his abduction by suspected terrorists soon after he was dumped.

“As I told senior officers, they reached Pathankot. The police were alerted because of my information. I don’t know why the delay (in responding to the abduction incident) took place,” he said.

“Only I know what happened to me. I have got a new lease of life. The truth has come out. Only I and the God knows how I returned,” Salwinder said.

As for his alleged links with smugglers in the border belt, especially the odd time he was moving in the area, the SP said: “If anyone can prove my links with smugglers, I am willing to give up my life.”

The police officer said his abductors came back in his Mahindra XUV with a blue beacon, to look for him and his cook Madan Gopal after both were dumped near a drain in a forest area.

“I had gone to offer prayers at the shrine near Kathua. While returning, we were stopped near Kolia turn. We thought it was a police barricade. Four-five people barged into our vehicle and carjacked my SUV. They put off the lights. My friend Rajesh Verma was driving. We later came to know that they were terrorists,” Salwinder said.

“I could not resist as they were heavily armed. They threatened to shoot us. We were blindfolded, gagged and tied. We could not react. I did not take my gunmen since I was going to a shrine,” the police officer said.

“They had AK-47s (assault rifles) and carried heavy bags. They spoke in Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi. They snatched my mobile phone and also took away Verma’s phone. They were talking to their commander,” he added.

Salwinder Singh said that when his gunman called on his mobile phone and asked for ‘SP saab’, they (terrorists) said ‘Salaam Vallekum’ and disconnected. They attacked Verma, slit his throat and left him for dead.

The police officer said they did not ask for directions as they had global positioning system and were talking about it.

1 Comment

  1. Pathankot operations a national embarrassment, who will take the responsibility?

    The Pathankot terror attack is a huge national embarrassment. There can be no arguments over it. It has exposed the inefficiency and incompetence of our intelligence agencies, Punjab Police and the lack of coordination among the various agencies involved in taking on the terrorists and flushing them out.
    In a shocking incident, a Superintendent of Police rank officer was easily abducted along with his official vehicle, his friend taken as a hostage, a driver found dead in his Innova vehicle, but the police and the central intelligence agencies failed to act swiftly. They lost precious 14 hours in trying to analyse and plan the search operations.

    he Pakistan backed Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists easily gained access into a vital Indian Air Force Station at Pathankot. They managed to cause the intended damage and instill fear across India.
    The inefficient handling of the operation cost us the lives of seven soldiers and also damaged the reputation of our elite security forces.
    After Saturday’s operations, the Centre even declared that the entire operation was over and all the terrorists have been killed. On Sunday, the firing once again began causing fear and embarrassment at the same time. Two terrorists actually stayed inside the IAF Station undetected the entire Saturday night.
    What a dreaded news! What a national embarrassment!!
    After the SP reported that his vehicle was hijacked by suspected terrorists, the police and other agencies should have heightened security across all vital installations near the border. If they had done that, they could have stopped the terrorists outside or at least at the gates of the Pathankot IAF Station. It clearly shows that despite tall claims of “high alert” nothing was actually done on the ground and authorities were actually groping in the dark.
    Any well trained and professional military force and the police would definitely have stopped these terrorists at the gate.
    Local media reports suggest that the Punjab Police and other security agencies initially refused to take the words of the abducted SP seriously. They wasted a lot of precious time. Even the murder of a taxi driver did not force them to launch a massive manhunt.
    These incidents were treated like ordinary crimes and not like a possible terror attack.
    Where were the terrorists hiding between the night of January 1 and January 2? What were they doing? We are yet to get the answer to these questions.
    It exposes the lapse on part of Punjab Police too. Like most other states, Punjab Police is also highly politicised and morale is also not high.
    Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, is not ready to take the blame. He said “Punjab Police is the last line of defence. The primary responsibility is with the Border Security Force. Our police immediately informed the Centre. We are not at fault. This is not the time for blame game.”
    The Centre claims that even after it dispatched the elite National Security Guards to Pathankot, the Punjab Police failed to locate the terrorists.
    Just six months before the incident, the Punjab had witnessed a similar incident at Gurdaspur. The state police were able to kill all the terrorists, though they lost some brave officers in the fight.
    What has happenned in Pathankot clearly shows that no lessons have been learnt from the past.
    Even the clearance operations on Sunday was not as per the standard operating procedures of the Army. An officer Lieutenant Colonel Niranjan of the elite NSG Bomb Disposal Squad died in an explosion when he searched the body of a slain terrorist. Worse, two more terrorists were holed up inside the vast campus even as he was clearing the area.
    The security agencies must explain what went wrong to the nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar must take stock of the situation and order strict action against erring officers.
    After watching the botched up Pathankot security operations, the masters of the terrorists in Pakistan must be smiling. This is exactly what they wanted.
    Pathankot incident should be treated like a national embarrassment. There is nothing to claim that India successfully “averted” a major disaster, something like the 26/11 incident of Mumbai.
    Will the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval care to explain? A good 24 hour lead was wasted and the terrorists had easy access to a top IAF base. According to media reports Modi and Parrikar, who are touring Karnataka have discussed the gravity of the situation and are likely to come out with an explanation.
    Hope, it will be the last such embarrassment.

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