Hunt continues for 'kurta-pyjama clad' Bathinda military station attackers: Latest developments
The military station is one of the largest Army bases in the country and it comprises a significant number of operational units of the force.
A day after four Indian Army soldiers were killed in a firing incident at Bathinda Military Station in Punjab on Wednesday, a massive hunt is ongoing to nab the gunmen. This even as the base reported the death of another soldier due to gunshot wounds on Wednesday evening. The Army denied that today's death had any links with the firing a day earlier.
Let's take a look at the developments that have happened thus far:
* According to the Indian Army's South Western Command, the firing took place at around 4:35 am on Wednesday inside the military station. The military station's quick reaction teams were activated and the areas were cordoned off and sealed.
* Hours after the incident, the missing INSAS rifle along with the magazine were recovered. The Army and Punjab Police are conducting a forensic analysis of the weapon. A total of 28 rounds were reported to be missing. The Army said, "We would get to know about the balance number of rounds in the weapon after forensic analysis."
* An FIR was lodged after a complaint was filed by Major Ashutosh Shukla at Bathinda Cantt police station. The FIR was registered under IPC Section 302 (murder) and relevant sections of the Arms Act against two unidentified persons.
* According to the FIR, a soldier witnessed two unidentified men in white kurta-pyjamas with covered faces and heads, coming out of the barracks after the firing. One of them was carrying an INSAS rifle and the other an axe.
* "When they saw him, they escaped towards the jungle area near the barracks. They were of medium height," the soldier said.
* Later, the Army officers found four soldiers killed in the barrack. They are Sagar Banne (25) and Yogesh Kumar J (24), Santosh M Nagaral (25) and Kamalesh R (24), were found. They hailed from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
* Earlier in the day on Wednesday, the Punjab Police had called it a case of 'fratricide'. "It is not a terrorist attack, it is not an attack from outside," Punjab’s Additional Director General of Police, SPS Parmar, said.
* On Thursday morning the Indian Army confirmed that a fifth soldier had died of a gunshot wound at approximately 4:30 PM on April 12 at Bathinda Military Station. "The soldier was on sentry duty with his service weapon. The weapon and cartridge case from the same weapon was found next to the soldier. The gunshot wound was near the right temporal region. He was immediately evacuated to the Military Hospital, but succumbed to his injuries." The soldier had returned from leave on April 11.
The Army has, so far, said that the death of the soldier on Wednesday afternoon had no connection with the firing incident.
It must be noted that Bathinda is an important military installation and houses the headquarters of Indian Army's 10 Corps, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Jaipur-based South Western Command. The military station is one of the largest Army bases in the country and it comprises a significant number of operational units of the force.