Former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern and Central Commands of the Army, Lt Gen HS Panag (Retd) on Tuesday lashed out at the Punjab Police Director General of Police, Sumedh Singh Saini, on Twitter for insisting on using the state police SWAT team and reportedly delaying the anti-terrorist operation in Dinanagar even though the Army was readily available.
In a series of hard-hitting tweets, Lt Gen Panag said that it was only because the DGP was keen to launch SWAT and make it a Punjab Police operation that there was delay of several hours in effectively taking on the terrorists. “Insistence on using SWAT…delayed the op. 3 Hrs to move. IA was there but not allowed to conduct op [sic],” tweeted the former Army Commander, adding that the delay was a repeat of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
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“Egos must not drive counter terrorist operations,” he further tweeted. Lt Gen Panag said that the Indian Army units present on the scene of action should have acted on their own.
“Centre cannot and does not monitor such ops minute to minute. At best IA units should have taken suo moto action. I would have,” he tweeted.
Later, speaking to The Indian Express, Lt Gen Panag said he stood by what he had tweeted earlier and that it was a tactical error and an unpardonable sin for having let the Army sit around and wait for SWAT to arrive when its own men could have done the job.
“They were lucky that unlike in Mumbai, where casualties were caused due to late arrival of NSG, the same did not happen in Dinanagar,” he said.
The Army, however, has maintained a studied silence on the entire episode.