Army deserter Harpreet Singh, 25, after his arrest in Hoshiarpur on Monday night and (right) the two INSAS rifles that he stole along with an accomplice Jagtar Singh from an army training centre at Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh on December 5.(HT Photos)
Army deserter Harpreet Singh, 25, after his arrest in Hoshiarpur on Monday night and (right) the two INSAS rifles that he stole along with an accomplice Jagtar Singh from an army training centre at Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh on December 5.(HT Photos)

Army deserter, Khalistan militant’s son arrested in Punjab with two INSAS rifles stolen from sentries in Madhya Pradesh

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent, Hoshiarpur
UPDATED ON DEC 10, 2019 03:49 PM IST

An army deserter and the son of a Khalistani militant have been arrested in Tanda town of Hoshiarpur district for stealing weapons from sentries at the army training centre checkpost at Panchmarhi in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh on December 5. The two INSAS rifles they stole were also recovered.

Punjab Police were alerted by the army intelligence and Madhya Pradesh anti-terrorist squad (ATS) that Harpreet Singh, 25, who was absent from duty since October 15, had stolen two 5.56-mm rifles, three magazines and 20 cartridges from the sentries at the training centre.

A search operation was conducted for two days before Harpreet Singh was arrested from Chotala village and his accomplice, Jagtar Singh, alias Jagga, from Kandhali Narangpur village on Monday night. Both Harpreet Singh and Jagga are natives of Miani village in Tanda, 30 km from Hoshiarpur.

Police sources said Jagga is the son Harbhajan Singh, a Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) militant, who was arrested in connection with a blast in the border district of Tarn Taran in September. It was later reported that China-made drones were being used to drop weapons in the border villages of the district from Pakistan.

In September, police busted the KZF terror module, which was conspiring to unleash terror strikes in the state, by arresting four people and seizing five AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and hand-grenades. The four included Harbhajan Singh, who was arrested from Chohla Sahib village in Tarn Taran district.

Jagtar Singh, alias Jagga, the army deserter’s accomplice from his native Miani village in Tanda block of Hoshiarpur district. Jagga is the son of Harpreet Singh, a Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant who was arrested in Tarn Taran in September. (HT Photo)
Jagtar Singh, alias Jagga, the army deserter’s accomplice from his native Miani village in Tanda block of Hoshiarpur district. Jagga is the son of Harpreet Singh, a Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) militant who was arrested in Tarn Taran in September. (HT Photo)

RIFLES HIDDEN IN SUGARCANE FIELDS

Hoshiarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gaurav Garg said that during the raids, the stolen rifles were recovered from a sugarcane field of Kandhali Narangpur village.

“Three teams were constituted under the command of the deputy superintendent of police, Tanda, DSP, Dasuya, and DSP, special branch. They were successful in catching the culprits,” the SSP said.

Harpreet was commissioned in the Sikh regiment at Ramgarh in Jharkhand in December 2015. He was trained as bandsman at Pachmarhi and deputed as B-Flat clariant (musician) in June 2017.

Posing as army personnel, the two arrived at a check post in the early hours of Friday and asked the sentries on duty to call someone from inside the cantonment. After engaging the sentries in light chatter, the duo suddenly seized the two INSAS assault rifles and 20 cartridges from the check-post and fled.

Preliminary investigation showed that the duo had got down at Piparia station, 55 km away around midnight and taken a taxi for Pachmarhi. The police received information about the incident around 5am and were on high alert.

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