Sukhmeet Bhasin & Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
Bathinda/New Delhi, April 13
A day after four Army jawans were killed at the Bathinda military station, the mystery over the two killers continued today even as massive search operations were conducted to locate the possible shooters.
The Army and the Punjab Police are now pinning their hopes on getting a clue from the forensic tests being conducted on an INSAS rifle that was stolen from the armoury along with a 28-bullet magazine on April 9 and recovered last evening. The Punjab Police are conducting the forensic examination.
The four Army jawans of the 80 Medium Regiment of Artillery were killed at 4.30 am. The Army recovered 19 bullet shells from the spot and these are part of the forensics to establish whether these were fired from the recovered INSAS rifle. Bathinda Cantt police station SHO Gurdeep Singh said, “There is no update in the case. The police spoke to Army officials and also scanned the CCTV footage, but the identity of the assailants has not been ascertained yet.” Army sources in New Delhi maintained that a headcount had been done at the Bathinda military station and “all are accounted for”. “If all are accounted for, were the shooters outsiders? If yes, that’s a grave matter as they managed to enter and escape a heavily guarded military station, which has tight round-the-clock vigil,” said a retired security official.
This, he said, indicated that the attackers were well versed with the topography of the military station as they “came, killed and fled”. Conversely, this could also mean the shooters could be insiders. Possibly, they killed the four jawans and then went back to their respective regiment or battalion. Another question is whether a third person stole the rifle and kept it at a safe place for the killers to use.
The incident has raised serious security concerns as the Bathinda military station is among the largest in the country and is located merely 90 km from the Pakistan border.
Jawan ‘dies by suicide’
An Army jawan reportedly ‘died by suicide’ at the Bathinda military station on Wednesday evening. The Army authorities said the suicide had “no link with the killing of the 4 jawans” inside
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