Punjab was put on high alert following an alert issued by Counter Intelligence wing of State police which said “a group of six to seven Jaish-e-Mohammad militants are reportedly in Punjab, possibly in Ferozepur area and are planning to move towards Delhi from Punjab side”. The alert, based on “an input”, was issued on Wednesday, along with a photographs showing suspected militants .
A senior officer of Punjab police said field officers across the state had been directed to step up vigil. “The officers have been particularly told to ensure strict vehicular checking. Ten companies of state police are away for election duty in other states and we have pressed remaining force at our disposal following the alert,” said the officer.
The alert was issued hours after four unidentified men carjacked an Innova from near Madhopur on gunpoint late Tuesday night at about 11.30 pm. The four men, who as per Innova driver Raj Kumar were speaking in Punjabi, were captured in a CCTV footage obtained from Jammu railway station, from where they had hired the Innova.
A Punjab police officer said the counter intelligence alert and carjacking incident had “seemingly no link”. The officer said, “The faces, the height and built of the men in the photograph circulated by the Intelligence wing have no similarities with those who carjacked the Innova and were captured in CCTV footage.”
The officer privy with the carjacking case investigation said the driver of the Innova was shown the photographs circulated by counter intelligence wing and he told that “none of the persons matched with the carjackers”.
The officer said, “In a terror act, there is an element of surprise. Had it been a terror act, they would have carried out a strike somewhere soon after the carjacking. Also, they had altercations at two places before carjacking – at a toll barrier over paying toll where they claimed to be Armymen and at a non-descript Punjabi dhaba, where they told they had an altercation with dhaba owner as they complained about unclean plates and glasses.”
The officer added that driver told that their bags were very light, probably containing only a few clothes, as he put those in the taxi. “They asked the driver to get into the Innova when they carjacked it, telling him that if he did not, they will shoot him. But, the driver did not see any weapon in their hands. Then, they tried to bundle the driver into the Innova, but failed to do so. As they were fleeing, the driver asked them to at least give him his blanket and bag of clothes. On this, they threw his blanket and bag. All these pointers do not suggest it to be a terror act,” said the officer.
Pathankot SSP Vivek Sheel Soni said, “We have got leads (about carjacking case). We are working on them.”
The counter intelligence alert on JeM militants meanwhile, said, “In view of the above input, inter alia, there is a need to mount immediate/strong nakas at all important points and routes, conduct strict vehicular checking and take suitable counter measures for all sensitive locations in your area. Forces be suitably sensitized and alerted in this regard,” said the alert, which was based on “an input”. It added, “Further, there is a need to review and strengthen second line of defence along the Indo-Pak border and to coordinate closely with BSF and other police/defence establishments in your areas.”
The alert, issued by Counter Intelligence wing Inspector General further read, “All supervisory field officers, including IGP/DIG Ranges and CPs (Commissioners of Police) are advised involve themselves personally in the planning and implementation of preventive, precautionary measures as mentioned above in their respective jurisdictions to avoid any untoward incident.”
It added, “All officers are advised not to disclose the details of the input or the counter measures being taken in the public domain and discuss/share them strictly only on a need-to-know basis. All concerned may also be suitably advised in this regard.”