IN THE last three months, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) sent at least three alerts to the Punjab Police and the Border Security Force (BSF) on a possible infiltration attempt, with detailed inputs including the number of terrorists, according to sources.
The latest alert, reportedly sent days before the Pathankot attack, said six terrorists with automatic weapons and hand grenades were holed up in Masroor Bara Bhai village in Pakistan’s Punjab, waiting to cross over to Punjab in India.
The alert, however, did not mention the date, time and area from which the terrorists would cross over. It said they were waiting for an opportune time to infiltrate and could cross through Bamiyal, a border village in North Punjab.
Sources said the alert was a repeat of two such alerts sent in October end and November. “It is difficult to get absolutely specific intelligence about infiltration as terrorists are also undecided till late. They wait at the ‘launchpads’ for weeks before deciding on the time and spot to cross over. These decisions are taken last minute,” said an intelligence official.
Masroor Bara Bhai village is 10 km northwest of Bamiyal, and is a known “launchpad” for terrorists from Pakistan.
The group of terrorists behind the Gurdaspur attack last year are also suspected to have waited for weeks in Masroor Bara Bhai village before crossing over to Punjab through a nullah on the border.
Sources in the BSF, who accepted a possible lapse, pointed to the thin deployment of the force on the Punjab border. “Inputs like these come every two weeks from intelligence agencies. We try to remain alert and secure the border as much as possible. Several infiltrations are prevented. In majority cases, no attempt is ever made,” said a senior BSF officer.