2015 Gurdaspur attack
On 27 July 2015, three gunmen dressed in army uniforms opened fire on a bus and then attacked the Dina Nagar police station in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India. The attack resulted in the death of three civilians and four policemen, including a superintendent of police; fifteen others were injured. In addition, five bombs were found planted on the Amritsar–Pathankot line on a rail-bridge near Parmanand railway station, five kilometers from the site of the attack. All three attackers were killed in the operation, which lasted almost 12 hours.
|2015 Gurdaspur attack|
Location in Punjab, India
|Location||Dina Nagar, Gurdaspur district, Punjab, India|
27 July 2015 |
5.30 am (IST)
|Target||Punjab police, civilians and Indian Railways|
|Weapons||AK-47s, Night Vision Device, Grenades, GPS devices|
|Deaths||10 (including 4 police men, 3 terrorists and 3 civilians)|
Such terrorist attacks have been rare in Punjab since the end, in the mid-1990s, of the Punjab insurgency over the formation of an independent Sikh nation of Khalistan. However, such attacks are common in the Disputed Territory of Jammu and Kashmir that borders Gurdaspur, where Islamist insurgents are seeking independence or accession to Pakistan and from where the gunmen were at first suspected to have entered. On the basis of the GPS system found in the terrorists' possession, it was found that they entered India through Pakistan.
The attack took place in Dina Nagar, Gurdaspur district of Punjab, on the morning of 27 July 2015. At around 5:30 am, they opened fire on a Punjab Roadways bus coming from Jammu and Kashmir. The bus had 75 passengers, several of whom were injured. The bus driver, Nanak Chand, drove the bus towards them, forcing them to move back. He then swerved the bus and drove it straight to a government hospital, where the injured passengers were treated.
After firing indiscriminately near the bus stand, the assailants targeted a roadside eatery and took off in a hijacked Maruti 800 car with Punjab registration number. They shot dead a roadside vendor near Dinanagar bypass. They shot the driver and sped towards the Dina Nagar police station. The attackers targeted a community health centre adjacent to the police station, killing three civilians including a woman and a policeman. The gunmen then entered the police station and opened fire, seriously injuring five policemen.
The first response was led by Punjab Police Superintendent of Police Baljeet Singh, which led to the death of one of the gunmen. SP Baljeet Singh later died in the gunbattle. The Indian Army and the NSG also responded to the attack, but the Punjab Police maintained the lead on the counter-terrorism operation and assigned support roles to the Army and the NSG. A 28-man group from the Punjab Police SWAT Team coordinated a counter-assault and the last militant was killed 11 hours after the terrorist attack began. News agencies have pointed out that security forces could have ended the attack much earlier, as the gunmen were holed up in an abandoned building, but the operation was prolonged order to capture at least one gunman alive, with the assumption that they had a limited amount of food and ammunition, which could lead to an arrest. Once it was clear that none of the gunmen intended on being captured, this goal was abandoned and the SWAT Team swiftly neutralized all threats.
Bombs on the railway trackEdit
Meanwhile, a railway trackman named Ashwani Saini, while patrolling along the railway track between Dina Nagar and Jhakholari railway stations, spotted five bombs wired to a small bridge on the Amritsar-Pathankot line, just before a passenger train was due to cross the bridge. The train stopped 200 metres from the bombs. The railway authorities suspended all the rail traffic on the section while the bomb-disposal squads defused the bombs.
The attackers had also shaved all body hair and erased all factory markings on their weapons, supposedly to prevent any identification.
Indian authorities also recovered a Night Vision Device from the terrorists, with US Government markings on it. US Authorities confirmed that it belonged to the American Government and was most likely stolen or misplaced in Afghanistan.
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