Why Did It Take Punjab Police 11 Hours To Kill Three Terrorists


NEW DELHI – The 11 hours it took to neutralize the three terrorists who stormed into Gurdaspur was because of a deliberate strategy to try and capture at least one of the terrorists alive, sources said.

The plan was to have an Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman seized in the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 who provided elaborate details of Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Toiba’s role in the carnage.

Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh, who led the operation, told reporters that efforts were made to catch the terrorists alive so that they could be interrogated later.

Sources said this was also the reason the government did not press the Army and other security agencies into the operation with their heavy firepower. The Army or the National Security Guard would have gone for the kill, depriving the government of a prized terror catch.

So the operation was left to Punjab Police’s barely five-year-old SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team. “It was a deliberate decision, in the hope that we would be able to nab at least one of them,” a source said.

Local Army units had arrived at the Dinanagar police station even as the terror attack was unfolding. Even the NSG had arrived at the location.

However, the government stuck to the police’s SWAT team to take on the terrorists. Punjab’s SWAT is trained by an Israeli security consultancy.

The idea was to wear out the terrorists, so as to capture them. “There was a limited amount of ammunition with them, and probably no food stocks. So they would have given up if we had managed to prolong the entire operation,” the source said. The operation was finally over after 11 hours, but none of the terrorists was caught alive.