The July 27 terrorist attack at Dinanagar near Gurdaspur in Punjab, could have led to a bigger disaster, had the Punjab Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) commandoes not swung into action. It was the real test for the four-year-old SWAT—trained in Krav Maga, an Israeli military counter-terrorism system —by a New Delhi-based trainer Vikram Kapoor.
The sharpshooters passed the test with flying colours as they not only cornered the three suicidal terrorists holed up inside Dina Nagar police station in Gurdaspur but also succeeded in gunning them down after 12-hour firefight.
As the commandoes grabbed headlines for their precise operation, Kapoor – who has expertise in Israeli Self Defence and Combat Fighting skills and runs security training programme for youngsters in South Delhi – too was in the spotlight.
His proud moment had come when he was selected by the Punjab Police, along with three Israeli officers, to train men and officers on the lines of US military armed personnel who are experts in responding to threats such as active shooters, barricaded suspects, hostage taking and terrorist incidents.
In the 60 days of training in Punjab’s Bahadurgarh, the Punjab SWAT commandoes were trained to engage and fight with the terrorists. Kapoor’s mission was accomplished when his trained commandoes succeeded in smoking out the terrorists. After the victory the first thing that Punjab’s SWAT heroes did was to make a call to their Guru in Delhi informing him that they had proved their mettle.
“I was so satisfied seeing the men bang on the target without any injury. The deaths of other policemen and locals were so unfortunate but I am happy that the SWAT men did a marvelous job,” said Kapoor.
The Pioneer also spoke with one of the SWAT commandos over phone in Punjab who participated in the operation. The commando who did not wish to be named said, “Though we did not have any bullet proof jackets, the training and tactics which we have helped us to hit on the target without any injury.”
Talking about the looming threat of terror, he said, “Almost every place is vulnerable for Gurdaspur type terrorist attacks. It is not possible for commandoes stationed in one district to reach the affected place soon. So it is important that SWAT unit be set up at district level across the country.”
During the recent attack, the SWAT team was stationed at Amritsar’s Wagah border, which is over 80 kilometers from Gurdaspur, and hence it was rushed to the spot to combat the attack which they with great success.
“It took them more than an hour to reach the spot and by then the damage was already done,” he said, adding the commandoes entered the premises and gunned down the terrorists.
In India only two States – Delhi and Punjab – have SWAT units created in the wake of 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. The unit members are also being trained in Krav Maga technique of hand-to-hand combat that focuses on tactical defence skills.