Govt Knew About Terrorists 20 Hours Before the Pathankot Strike

The Central government was aware of the terrorist infiltration 20 hours in advance.

Updated
India
3 min read
An army person guards during the operation against the militants at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

On the first day of the new year at 7.30 am, the Punjab government informed the Central government as well as security agencies about the infiltration of terrorists into Pathankot, the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Badal confirmed. On Friday, he met Home Minister Rajnath Singh requesting him to enhance security at the Punjab international border.

This is clear indication that internal security agencies were aware of the possible terror strike at least 20 hours before it actually took place. A senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed that he was informed about the terrorists in the early hours of 1 January. He also admitted to major security lapses in the Pathankot terror operation.

According to intelligence officials, after information about the terrorists was passed on by the Punjab police, the phones of SP Salwinder Singh, driver Ikagar Singh and the other two who were present with them on the night of 31 December 2015 were placed under surveillance. Within a few hours, it was known that the terrorists were present in the air force base.

MHA officials say that the terrorists had “a fair idea of the base”. Investigators don’t rule out an inside job in assisting the terrorists. Officials also say that though the terrorists managed to sneak inside the base during the day on 1 January, they probably waited for nightfall for the terror strike which happened around 3.30 am on the intervening night of 1-2 January.

The National Investigation Agency is still clueless about the location from where the terrorists managed to cross the International Border. The agency has sent the footprints suspected to belong to terrorists to forensic experts. These footprints were located at the Bamihal village in the border area and within the air force base.

If the Central government and security agencies were aware of the terror strike 20 hours in advance, it raises several questions:

  • Why couldn’t the security agencies locate and nab the terrorists when they knew that they have entered the air force base well in advance?
  • Was there a lack of coordination among different security agencies that led to several goof-ups?
  • Were agencies waiting for the terrorists to attack first as they couldn’t locate them?

Punjab Govt Accuses BSF of Drug Trafficking

File picture of Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal. (Photo: Reuters)
File picture of Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal. (Photo: Reuters)

Sukhbir Badal blamed the Border Security Force for the increase in drug trafficking at the Punjab International Border. He said Pakistan is spreading ‘drug terrorism’ in India.

A few days ago, two Border Security jawans were caught in the drug trade. We need to do an internal assessment of the BSF stop drug trafficking in the state.

Sukhbir Badal, Deputy CM, Punjab

A BSF official, confirming Badal’s statement, added that these two BSF jawans were caught from the Rajasthan International Border as part of the drug trade and have nothing to do with the Pathankot terror strike. But it’s certainly a matter of concern for the BSF and will require an internal inquiry.

In defence of the Punjab police, Badal told The Quint,

Punjab police is number one and the most effective police in fighting against drugs. No other police is doing the job that the Punjab police is.

It is interesting to note that the younger brother of Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, wife of Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Majithia currently faces allegations of having links with an NRI accused of international money laundering related to the drugs racket.

Pathankot Terror Strike Investigation

The National Investigation Agency has summoned SP Salwinder Singh on Monday to Delhi. He is likely to undergo a polygraph test because of discrepancies in his statements. He claims he was abducted by the terrorists on the night of 31 December around 11 pm.

The NIA team is camping in three districts of Punjab to verify the facts and examine witnesses in close cooperation with Punjab police.

The investigators are still searching the air base to collect more evidence.

Though the Indian government has shared all crucial evidence with the Pakistan government, the former is still waiting for a concrete response. Interestingly, though the investigators claim to know the names of the Jaish-e-Mohammad handlers involved in the terror strike, the names of the terrorists are still unknown.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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