Chandigarh, Feb 26 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will camp in the border areas of Punjab for three days starting Wednesday as part of confidence-building measures undertaken by the state government in the wake of the Indian Air Force (IAF) surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday.
A high alert has been sounded in the border districts by the state government, which is in constant touch with the Union Home and Defence ministries to stay abreast of the volatile situation arising from the strikes, undertaken by India as a retaliatory measure in the aftermath of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
“The Chief Minister, who reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting with the top brass of the police and civil administration, has decided to stay in the sensitive border region for on-ground assessment of the situation. He will leave for Pathankot tomorrow (February 27) morning, and will travel by road to villages in border areas of the district and Amritsar, where he will stay the night,” his Media Advisor Raveen Thukral said.
On Thursday, Amarinder will visit the Tarn Taran border belt and spend the night at Faridkot. he will return to Chandigarh on Friday after visiting the border areas of Ferozepur district, Thukral added.
The Chief Minister on Tuesday ordered a spate of measures as part of the state’s preparedness to deal with any contingency in view of the latest developments at the LoC.
Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) of the border areas have been asked to put in place all contingency plans to ensure the protection and safety of the citizens.
Punjab shares a 553-km-long international border with Pakistan which has barbed wire fence inside the Indian territory.
“The meeting found no need for panic and decided against any move to evacuate the residents of the border areas,” the spokesperson said.
The Chief Minister discussed all aspects of the current situation with the top brass of the police and civil administration, including Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Home Secretary N.S. Kalsi, DGP Dinkar Gupta and DGP Intelligence V.K. Bhawara.
Thukral said that Amarinder Singh directed officials to monitor the situation closely and not let down their guard under any circumstances. The Chief Minister also spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the situation and offered his full support for the air strikes in a tweet.
“Great job by the #IndianAirForce. The #IAFStrikes have sent the much needed signal to Pakistan and the terrorists its harbouring – don’t think you can get away with acts like the #PulwamaAttack. Bravo to the #IAF men and my full support for the action,” Amarinder wrote.
Immediately after the deadly Pulwama attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in which 40 troopers were killed, Amarinder Singh had made it clear that he was in favour of strong retaliatory action and that the Congress would support any course of action decided by the Central government.
“They have killed 41, we should kill 82 of theirs,” he had said.
Amarinder Singh had also said that if Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan could not arrest the Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, who was operating from Pakistani soil, then “we will do it for him”.
Meanwhile, Punjab Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Tuesday visited villages in Dera Baba Nanak sector of Gurdaspur district adjoining international border of India and Pakistan following the air strikes.
The Minister exhorted people in Chandu Wadala, Rosa and Dostpur villages not to fear anything and assured them that the Punjab government is fully committed to the security of people residing in the villages lying along the border.
Commenting upon the present situation following the IAF strikes, the Minister said there is nothing to fear or panic, a spokesperson said here.