New Delhi: Locals living in areas near the terror-hit Pathankot air base used to enter the premises after allegedly paying a paltry sum of Rs 20 to security guards to graze their cattle and even shop in the CSD canteen, according to inputs gathered by intelligence agencies. The Air Force has, however, denied these inputs as baseless.
Intelligence agencies have informed the Home Ministry that it was a common practice for many people to enter the sensitive air force base with their cattle for grazing after allegedly paying the guards deployed in a few isolated gates in the sprawling premises.
There are several shops, including CSD canteen, inside the air base and there have been reports that many locals go to shop there.
Some of the locals even made identity cards while some other pay the security guards to enter the premises, the inputs claimed.
However, an Air Force spokesperson described as baseless and devoid of facts the inputs gathered by the intelligence agencies.
Alarmed by the terrorist attack, the Punjab government has now initiated the process of head-count of the Gujjar population living near the air base who herd cattle to ensure security in the vicinity.
In a pre-dawn attack, a group of heavily-armed Pakistani terrorists, believed to be belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad, attacked the Pathankot air base on January 2 killing seven security personnel. Six terrorists were also killed during the encounter.
The terrorists were said to have crossed the India-Pakistan border in Punjab and reached the strategically crucial air base and carried out the attack.