How Punjab's new heroes stared death in the face and came back laughing

The Black SWAT Elite force rushed to the site of terror attack without even having time to dress accordingly.

 |  2-minute read |   28-07-2015
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It was four hours since the terror attack on Dina Nagar police station had been foiled. The place was milling with groups of youngsters about, looking in awe at the new found heroes of Punjab: the SWAT team.

Aapne bullet proof kyun nahi pehna tha," I asked, extremely curious, as I was only accustomed to the precise operations of the Army. Incidentally, the Army had been on perpetual standby for the entire Dina Nagar operations.

Madam agar bullet proof pehenne ke liye rukte, to ye operation hi nahi ho pata!” replied Balwant, and a group of young SWAT men burst into laughter. To them, my question was naive; for the brave needed no cover.

But then, was it by choice? “It was like staring death in the face! They threw four grenades at us,” another chipped in. “The call was immediate. We decided to rush, rather than dress up.”

I could see the pride in those faces.

Somehow the idea of rushing for an operation without adequate gear was not quite convincing. But then I had my answer. “Ma'am this was the first time we came for such an operation. We had always been waiting for it, but never knew what it would be like.”

And then, walked up Jitender Singh, the hero among the heroes. To all those who saw the televised coverage, Singh was the burly man in a green T-shirt perched atop the adjacent terrace, spraying endless bullets on the terrorists' hideout. “Ever since I got into this team, I was itching for such an operation. Today God was kind enough to give me this opportunity.”

The Elite force has not seen much action. In fact, this bunch of commandos had never participated in an anti-terror operation. This particular team, of 28 commandos, were among the 80 sent to Israel for training in 2010. When the call came on July 27 morning, all they could do was grab their weapons and rush to the scene.

The Special Weapons And Tactics Unit is a specially trained team of Punjab Armed Police for anti-terror operations. Unlike the pot bellied police jawans, SWAT men are superbly fit and agile.

Youngsters in Punjab who proudly flaunt anything from Che Guevara to Jim Morrison, suddenly had a new T-shirt to locate in their neighbourhood store: The Black SWAT Elite force.


Sweta Singh Sweta Singh @sweetasingh

The writer is an Aaj Tak journalist.

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