A speeding sports utility vehicle (SUV) rammed into the Indian gate of the Wagah-Attari border on Monday in an incident that is being seen as a major security breach for Indian border security.
The Canadian national, identified as Surinder Singh, was reportedly drunk when he drove past a check post before ramming his vehicle into the Indian gate which was heavily damaged compared to the the Pakistani gate.
The 50-year-old man, who is said to be undergoing psychiatric treatment, was arrested by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at Zero Line, the border area between India and Pakistan.
“Singh broke through the customs gate on the outer periphery of the heavily guarded border crossing in a Scorpio sports utility vehicle at 3.45 am. He then rammed through a barricade located meters ahead of the Swaran Jyanti Dwar,” claimed Indian newspaper Hindustan Times.
The man broke through the Indian gate and his car only came to a stop after ramming it into the Pakistani border gate. The vehicle was confiscated by Pakistan Rangers but later returned to the Indian officials following a request from the BSF.
The incident has raised serious concerns about the security and border arrangements at the Indian side of the border as the man did not face much resistance in his way.
“Surrinder Singh is around 50 years old and is a Canadian national. He hails from Mehatpur village near Nakodar,” Special Superintendent of Police (Amritsar rural) Jasdeep Singh was quoted as saying.
“We are yet to find the exact reason why he did all this but he seems to be upset and during the questioning also, he was singing songs,” the police officer added.
Singh was later booked by the Indian police for attempted murder under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code and other provisions of the law, including attempting to cross the border without valid visa or other documents.
During the initial investigation, the Canadian national reportedly told investigators that he wanted to pay homage at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak in Punjab, which is visited by a large number of Sikhs every year from across the border.
“Preliminary investigations reveal he was undergoing psychiatric treatment. He told us he wanted to pay obeisance at Nankana Sahib, but did not want to wait for the visa and other formalities and adopted the illegal way,” the Press Trust of India quoted a BSF official as saying.
Incident comes days after the Pakistan Rangers exchanged sweets and greetings with the BSF personnel at the Wagah-Attari border at the advent of the Hindu festival of Diwali.
Prior to this event, no ceremonial exchange of sweets and gifts had taken place between Indian and Pakistani Forces during the Independence Day celebrations on both the sides.