Punjab has been peaceful for a long time now. The state that once posed as big a threat to India's security agencies as Jammu and Kashmir has managed, for a decade and a half, to avoid any major incidents. Until now that is. Early Monday morning, gunmen reportedly wearing Army uniforms attacked a police station in Punjab's Gurdaspur area, killing at least three and injuring over a dozen. Meanwhile, five bombs were also found on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway track.

The incident, which was ongoing as of 10:30 am, prompted the home ministry to raise the alert all along the border with Pakistan. Army and police reinforcements were rushed to the area, with the militants believed to be holed up in a building. Authorities have insisted that there is no hostage situation. Meanwhile, reports suggested one train was stopped just 200 meters short of the explosives that had been taped to the tracks at a small bridge near Dinanagar.


The attack taking place near both the Jammu border as well as the international one has spurred conjecture that the incident might not be connected to the Khalistani separatist terror that once plagued Punjab. The South Asian Terrorism Portal records no fatalities in the state of Punjab because of terror over the last few years, except for the killing of two security personnel and two terrorists in 2012.

Once a hotbed of terror, particularly in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the end of the Khalistani separatist movement meant peace in Punjab, giving the state to move on from its troubled times. But murmurs over the last few years have grown suggesting that things are once again simmering in the state.

A part of this is the increased security focus in the Kashmir valley, with militants and terror groups looking for other targets that might be softer. Intelligence agencies have also routinely warned of efforts from Khalistanis to reignite their battle with the Indian state.

In 2012, Intelligence Bureau chief Nehchal Sandhu warned that Pakistan-based groups were attempting to stir things up in the state. Research and Analysis Wing chief B Raman that year also warned about what he called "neo terrorism" coming to Punjab, although his focus was also on Khalistani revival elements.