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Punjab police carry out search ops in Panthankot

A day after a parliamentary panel claimed that terrorists were still hiding in villages close to the ‘vulnerable’ Pathankot airbase, Punjab police on Wednesday carried out a massive door-to-door search in at least 28 hamlets near here.

Punjab police carry out search ops in Panthankot
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A file photo of an NSG commando standing guard at the Pathankot airbase

“We conducted a search operation in 28 villages starting at 5 am for five hours. We asked people whether they have seen any person or suspect who is not from their village. They said they have not seen anyone,” Pathankot SSP Rakesh Kaushal said. 

Led by the Pathankot SSP, a total of 300 policemen including 2 SP-rank officers conducted search operation in villages such as Dhira, Tajpur, Akalgarh and Chonga near Pathankot airforce base. The search team also comprised highly trained and specially equipped special weapons and tactics (SWAT) commandos. The police inspected security outside the Pathankot airforce base and found that everything was safe. 

“Everything is safe there,” said Kaushal, adding that the airforce was also secured by its own guard commandos. 

Search operations were also carried in areas inhabited by Gujjars, officials said. 

“We found nothing suspicious,” said the SSP. He, however, said security has been intensified in the border district which had witnessed a terror attack at the airforce base in January. On Tuesday in Jammu, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Home Affairs P Bhattacharya had said, “After returning from Pathankot, we made our suggestions to the government and told them that there can be further attack on Pathankot. We were told by the villagers that some terrorists were still hiding in the villages there.” 

“Do you know that a few days ago, government asked the CRPF, BSF and the Army to guard the airforce station because some terrorists are hiding there,” said Bhattacharya. 

Notably, early this month, shoot-at-sight orders were issued at the airforce station in Pathankot and security was stepped up following intelligence inputs. Meanwhile, a meeting was held between officials of Army, BSF, Air Force and Punjab police to review security arrangements here, the Pathankot SSP said.

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