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Reuters/Munish Sharma
Policemen take their positions during the gunfight.
GURDASPUR ATTACK

A deadly gun battle with terrorists in India’s Punjab has ended after 12 hours

By Quartz Staff

Indian police have killed the terrorists who stormed into a police station in the northern state of Punjab, ending a 12-hour-long gun battle that left at least nine people dead.

On the morning of July 27, three heavily armed men dressed in army uniforms attacked the Dinanagar police station in the Gurdaspur district, close to India’s border with Pakistan. According to media reports, the trio carjacked a Maruti Suzuki 800 and fired at a bus before attacking the police station. This is the first terrorist attack in India’s Punjab in almost 13 years.

The terrorists reportedly crossed over from Pakistan two days ago after being allegedly trained by Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The attack is the most serious incident in the country since prime minister Narendra Modi took charge in May 2014.

Immediately after the attack began at about 5 AM, the Indian government had roped in its army, the National Security Guard and its Quick Response Teams to assist the police in the counter-attack.

Apart from the three terrorists, three civilians and three police officers were killed in the siege. Baljit Singh, Gurdaspur’s superintendent of police, also died in the counter-operation.

The Indian government had not made any statements on the attack at the time of publishing this report. Rajnath Singh, India’s home minister, had said earlier today that the government would issue a detailed statement in parliament tomorrow (July 28).

Punjab has been the target of terrorist attacks since the early 1980s, largely by Sikh militant groups demanding an independent homeland, Khalistan. In 1983, at least 175 people were killed in the state in various terrorist incidents. After this, the central government dismissed the state government and took direct control, imposing president’s rule, which lasted for nearly two years.

Gurdaspur is the northern-most district in Punjab and has itself witnessed several terror attacks before. In 1988, it was among the three places—including Hoshiarpur and Patiala—where bomb attacks killed 120 people.

Also read: Everything you need to know about Gurdaspur—the epicentre of today’s terrorist attacks