The dead included three civilians, one of whom was shot dead in a bus stand and two others who were killed in a hospital near the police complex. Three Home Guards in the complex were also killed. Police officials admitted the complex was a soft target.
"We were hit by a burst of gunfire. I was hit on the shoulder," said a police sub-inspector in the morning as he was taken to a hospital. "They are firing indiscriminately every five minutes." The clearly well-planned attack took the small town of Dinanagar by surprise. Gurdaspur district borders Pakistan on one side and Jammu and Kashmir on the other. In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon went into a huddle with senior ministers. The terrorists first hijacked a passing car on the outskirts of Dinanagar after shooting its driver. They then drove into the town, shot dead a man near the bus stand and then fired at a Punjab Roadways bus packed with passengers. But its driver, Nanak Chand, did not panic and instead scared the terrorists by driving towards them. As the gunmen moved back, the driver swerved the bus and drove it away.
The gunmen then stormed the police complex. As panic gripped Dinanagar, police and troops from a nearby army unit quickly surrounded the complex. But police officials said that it was the Punjab Police which battled the terrorists.
The army's Special Forces and the National Security Guard provided the second ring of security. Television crews were told not to provide live footage of the fighting. That the terror attack was multi-pronged was evident from the recovery of five bombs on the Amritsar-Pathankot rail track. The discovery took place minutes before a passenger train was to cross the section.