Amid raging controversy over the number of terrorists that attacked the Pathankot airbase, National Security Guard (NSG) chief RC Tayal says he will be very surprised if it turns out that there were less than six attackers.
“No question of revising the number of attackers. The NIA is probing the case. Let us wait for the forensic report to come,” Tayal told HT.
Security forces first engaged with the Pathankot attackers on the intervening night of January 1 and 2, almost 24 hours after the terrorists had entered the airbase. Four terrorists were neutralised by the afternoon of January 2.
“The area was cordoned and a sanitising exercise began on the January 3 morning. As our bomb disposal squad chief Lt Colonel E Niranjan got martyred while sanitising the body of one of the terrorists on January 3 morning at around 9.30 am, at the same time one of the other NSG team found the ground floor of the two story building nearby locked up.
“We used a radar on the wall of the building which detected signs of movement. One of the commandos who had gone to put the radar said he heard a voice from inside telling someone, ‘get up, NSG has come’. The team of commandos was attacked from inside by a grenade. One of the commandos got a splinter injury in his eye as well,” said Tayal.
Tayal added fire also came from the ground floor of the building and there were more than 30 explosions in the building. Some LPG cylinders stored there also exploded and the building caught fire.
“How is it possible that there wasn’t anyone there if we faced fire from the ground floor and grenades were lobbed outside?” asked Tayal.
The NIA recovered only ashes from the fully burnt building with no signs of any weapon or clothes worn by the attackers, who may have been hidden there. The NIA has sent the ashes for forensic examination to see whether it has traces of human DNA.