Gurdaspur resident Rajesh Verma survived a slit throat to alert security agencies about the audacious plan by a group of Pakistan-based terrorists to attack a defense installation.
Speaking to HT exclusively from a hospital bed on Saturday, Verma, 40, recounted in details his ordeal which started on Friday morning when he decided to accompany Gurdaspur police official Salwinder Singh on a trip to a saint’s mazaar close to the Indo-Pak border.
“When we were coming back, four men in army uniforms signaled our car to stop. As we stopped, the four overpowered us and barged into the vehicle and tied all of us with ropes and clothes,” Verma said.
Verma said that soon after they were abducted the men told them that they were going to attack the air force base to avenge the hanging of Afzal Guru, convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack.
The Urdu-speaking men were carrying assault rifles and grenades as well as a GPS navigation system and had a clear idea about the location of the base.
“’You killed Afzal Guru and now we will take revenge’ they kept on saying as they continued hitting us with rifles butts,” Verma said.
Guru was hanged and buried in the Tihar jail on February 9, 2013 for his role in the 2001 attack on Parliament after his mercy petition was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.
“As the car drove for around 30 kilometres, they dropped off the SP and the old cook but took me along. When we reached near village Tajpur, where they had intended to enter the IAF base, they slit my throat and left me for dead in the SUV,” he said.
“However, I managed to survive by controlling the blood with a cloth and I ran towards a gurdwara from where I managed a phone and informed my relative who rushed me to the hospital,” Verma said.
The terrorists, Verma said, were unaware that they had kidnapped a Punjab police officer because they launched a search for the SP when the hooter of the car accidentally went off.
Verma said he had told the police and intelligence officials everything he had heard.
Four of the terrorists are believed to among the five attackers killed during the attack on the Pathankot base on Saturday.