Chandigarh: The investigations of the Army and the Punjab police into the Wednesday early morning dastardly killing of four jawans inside Bathinda Military station, seemed to drag on for the third day, there still was said to be no headway in the case on Friday.
Senior police officers said that even though they had visited the crime spot, deployed sniffer dogs and taken fingerprints from the weapon – Insas rifle – which had reportedly gone missing since Monday and was reportedly used in the crime on Wednesday, their probe was still in progress.
Army intensely investigating the matter
They, however, held while their probe was on, the Army was also intensely investigating the matter. There was, however, no word from the Army on any headway in the matter till going to the Press.
Pertinently, the shocking incident of the killing of four jawans, however, – by an uncanny coincidence - was followed by the death of yet another soldier inside the Bathinda military station exactly 12 hours later on Wednesday only.
The Army authorities held that the deceased soldier, Laghu Raj Shankar had possibly shot himself with his service weapon in the right temple, while he was on sentry duty at another unit far away from the said barrack of the four jawans who were killed while in sleep in the wee hours. They also held that Shankar’s death was probably a case of accidental firing or suicide, but it was in no way connected with the slayings in the morning.
Police critically examining sole eyewitness
Meanwhile, the police investigators were also critically examining the account of the sole eyewitness, gunner Demai Mohan, who was on duty in the wee hours, and had told his superior that he had spotted two masked men in “kurta pyjama” carrying an Insas rifle and an axe, after the firing incident around 4.30 am.
The two assailants had, according to investigators, probably melted into the forest areas of the Armystation. However, questions were being raised following the post mortem on the bodies of the four jawans which bore no injury inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon like an axe. Also, no one was corroborating the gunner’s statement nor was there any CCTV footage despite CCTV cameras installed in the entire Armystation.
Sources in police also pointed out that since the firing on the jawans as they slept in their barracks appeared to be a targeted killing, as there would have been indiscriminate firing in the case of a terror attack, sources have contended.
It may be recalled that the Bathinda military station is one of the largest in the country located close to the country's borders with Pakistan.
Home to the 10 Corps, this station is considered to be a vital Army base for defending Punjab and neighbouring Rajasthan borders with Pakistan. It also has a number of units from different divisions including infantry, armoured, aviation, artillery, signals and engineers.