Punjab Police has firmed up plans to set up a Special Operation Group (SOG) on the lines of the National Security Guard (NSG) to deal with any terror attack in the state which shares border with Pakistan. “We are working on setting up the SOG here as we have the NSG at the central level,” a senior official of the Punjab Police said on Tuesday.
The main objective of the SOG will be to neutralise any threat posed by ‘Fidayeen’ or terrorist groups by responding to that situation as quickly as possible. “The SOG will primarily be dealing with Fidayeen or terror attacks and will also prevent any hostage like situation,” the official said. The Punjab Police also has plans to rope in experts from Israel or USA for providing training to the SOG members to combat terror threats successfully.
“We are even ready to give the members of the SOG specialised training by experts from Israel or US forces,” the official said. The group will also have members of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) who were trained by Israeli military counter-terrorism experts.
The SOG will be led by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Rakesh Chandra, the official said. Notably, Punjab had witnessed two terror attacks in 2015 and 2016. In the first attack, three heavily-armed terrorists wearing army fatigues, had stormed a police station in Dinanagar town of Gurdaspur district in July 2015 killing seven persons, including a Superintendent of Police, before they were gunned down during a day-long operation.
In the second attack, four terrorists who had sneaked in from across the border had attacked the Pathankot air base on the intervening night of January 1 and 2 last year, claiming the lives of seven security personnel. The Punjab government yesterday had announced to set up an Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) to break the nexus of militants and gangsters flourishing in the state’s prisons.
The official said the ATS will also effectively deal with the ‘target killings’ as the state has witnessed several such incidents including killing of RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja and Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta in the past. Apart from this, the Punjab Police is also in the process of changing the nomenclature of the Special Task Force (STF) set up to deal with dreaded gangsters.
“The STF which deals with gangsters will soon have new name as the STF name has now been given to the anti-drugs team,” the official said. The Punjab government had set up the STF led by ADGP H S Sidhu with the intention of wiping out the drug problem from the state. The dreaded gangsters, “who are striking at their will”, are proving to be a big challenge for the force. The police had set up the STF to nab notorious gangsters operating in the state.