Dina Nagar (Gurdaspur): Sound of gunfire woke up residents in this town early this morning as terrorists, clad in army uniform, attacked a bus and a police station complex killing five persons, including a policeman, after snatching a car.
As the news of attack spread, people living near the police station in Dina Nagar, the third largest town in Gurdaspur district, largely remained indoors. People switched on their TV sets to catch the latest updates on the situation.
Kamaljeet Singh Matharu, a resident, said that the heavily armed assailants, wearing army uniform, snatched his Maruti 800 car after firing at him. He received gunshot injuries and is admitted to a hospital.
Jatinder Kumar, an employee of Punjab Health Department, came to know about the incident at about 6:15 AM through his friend who called him up. “Then I went upstairs in my house and heard the sound of bullet firing,” he said, adding soon a large police force and then army personnel arrived in the area.
“There is fear among the people after they came to know about the attack. We can hear the sound of firing going on at the police station between the security personnel and the attackers,” said Kumar, whose house is just 500 metres away from the Dina Nagar police station, about 25 km from Pathankot town.
Officials said that schools, colleges and other institutions have been ordered to be shut in the town. According to the police, the attackers first snatched the Maruti car with a Punjab registration number and then targeted a roadside eatery. They shot dead a roadside vendor near Dinanagar bypass.
Then they struck a moving bus at around 5 AM, spraying bullets at passengers, injuring four. The assailants after that targeted a health centre followed by a building where the families of police personnel reside and hurled grenades before entering the police station.
Both Jatinder and his wife, who works in Punjab’s Internal Audit Department, said they decided not to go to their respective offices today following the attack. “Our son, who is a student of Class VIII, has also not gone to school as the district administration announced closure of educational institutions for the day,” they said.
Varinder Kumar Vikky, another resident of the district bordering Jammu and Kashmir, said the security forces have cordoned off the area around the police station and set up check-points. Naval, who lives in an area close to the roadside eatery, where one person was killed by the terrorists, said, “I heard the sound of gunfire. They (attackers) stole the car of one of the injured persons.
“I saw them driving away in the car. They went towards the police station. There were a very few people since it was early in the morning. They fired about three rounds initially. They were firing as they drove off. The person who died worked at the eatery,” he said.
Meanwhile, security forces in Punjab and neighbouring Haryana have gone on high alert in the wake of the attack, about three weeks ahead of the Independence Day. A senior police official said that in view of the attack, “maximum alert” has been sounded across Punjab and security has been beefed up along its border with neighbouring J&K.
BSF, which guards the Indo-Pak border, has also been put on high alert after the incident, he said.