A Punjab police officer being investigated after he was allegedly abducted and subsequently released by a group of terrorists that laid siege to the Pathankot air force base said on Tuesday his inputs helped minimise loss of life.
Superintendent of police Salwinder Singh who has been transferred pending further inquiry said security personnel set up checkpoints and stepped up surveillance based on information he provided, making it difficult for the attackers to move around and reducing damage.
“I informed police as soon as I could. I completed my responsibility. They believed me completely,” he said. “If I had tried to fight them (the terrorists), they would have killed me.”
Singh said he stopped his car on Friday when four to five men in military-style clothing signalled him to halt and he had no reason to believe or could tell in the darkness they were terrorists in disguise moving in an area where army movements are routine.
But he knew right away that they were terrorists when the men rushed towards his SUV, the moment it braked to a halt.
Singh, who was in his civvies, said he did not resist since the attackers were heavily armed and he was without his weapon and guard as he was visiting a nearby shrine.
The terrorists allegedly used the vehicle to enter Gurdaspur and attacked the airbase near the Pakistan border over the weekend, with six militants and seven Indian soldiers killed in a days-long operation.
The gunmen allegedly abducted Singh along with his friend Rajesh Verma who’s a Gurdaspur-based jeweller, as well as his cook Madan Gopal at Kohlian village in Pathankot district.
The officer said the kidnappers left him at Gulpur Simbli village after about 45 minutes of travel while they later slit the jeweller’s throat before dumping him and the cook near another village. Verma is receiving care at a hospital.
Armed men were in army fatigues and had AK 47 with them: Gurdaspur SP Salvinder Singh (who was abducted) pic.twitter.com/n98Ec3gGRI— ANI (@ANI_news) January 5, 2016
Singh said the gunmen learnt his identity only when a constable called up on his cellphone which they had snatched.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered three cases to probe the conspiracy behind the Pathankot terror attack. The first of the three cases pertains to the SP’s abduction.
The men’s appearance and speech confirmed they were Pakistanis, said Singh. They used Urdu and Hindi while speaking to someone on the phone that they had taken from him.
The officer said he contacted senior officers about the presence of Pakistani terrorists in the area after being freed at around 3.30am on Friday.
(With agency inputs)