NEW DELHI: The gunmen who stormed a police station and killed seven people in India’s Punjab came from Pakistan, according to preliminary evidence, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament on Thursday.
In a statement shorn of the nationalist rhetoric the ruling party is known for, Singh warned of a forceful response to any attempt to undermine India’s territorial integrity or security but did not specify any response to Monday’s attack.
Gunmen dressed in military fatigues killed at least 10 people, including three civilians, in India’s Punjab state on Monday before being shot dead in a 12-hour-long gunfight with security forces in a small-town police station near the border with Pakistan.
In what was the first such attack in the state in more than a decade, the assailants shot dead a roadside vendor and tried to hijack a bus before storming the police station, witnesses said.
Earlier, contradicting speculation that the attack may have been carried out by Sikh separatists, the Indian Punjab police chief claimed on Tuesday that the three gunmen were Muslim but as yet unidentified.
Pakistan had earlier issued a statement strongly condemning the assault and extending condolences to the government and people of India, pushing back against insinuations that the assailants had crossed from Pakistani territory.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist incident in Gurdaspur, India, in which a number of precious lives have been lost. There are reports of others having suffered injuries. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families,” said a statement issued here Pakistan’s Foreign Office.