Bathinda military station firing: Four jawans who were shot, killed identified
Bathinda attack: Punjab Police officials have ruled out a terror attack and said that, prima facie, the incident was fratricide.
Four Army jawans shot and killed Wednesday morning - in a tragic incident officials described as 'fratricide' - while sleeping in a barrack at a military base in Punjab's Bathinda have been identified as Gunners Sagar Banne (25), Kamalesh R (24), Yogeshkumar J (24) and Santosh M Nagaral (25).
Their families have been notified, the Army said in a separate statement.
The South-Western Command reported no other injuries to personnel or loss of or damage to property and said Army Chief General Manoj Pande had briefed defence minister Rajnath Singh. The Army further said the incident took place around 4.30 am and that a detailed investigation has been ordered.
Among several other elements, inquiries will focus on an INSAS assault rifle and 28 bullets that went missing Monday, Punjab Police officials explained.
Of the 28 missing bullets 19 were recovered when the bodies were found, Ajay Gandhi, the senior police official investigating the incident, told reporters.
The rifle and an unspecified number of bullets were found later in the day.
Gandhi also said the perpetrators were likely two people in civilian clothes and that a manhunt had been activated to capture them.
However, defence ministry sources told Reuters of only one shooter.
Meanwhile, Punjab Police's FIR (first information report) has said that two people - wearing kurta pyjamas and carrying the rifle and ax - were responsible.
There are, at this time, no details about motive or any other circumstances surrounding the shooting. There was no exchange of gunfire after the initial burst and the military base has been locked down.
The rifle and the missing bullets have been found.
Not a terror attack
A senior Punjab Police official told Reuters the incident was one of 'fratricide' and that a terror attack angle had been ruled out. "We are in constant touch with authorities at the military station for an in-depth probe," senior superintendent of police Gulneet Khurana said as he dismissed the terror angle.
"It is not a terror incident… it is an internal issue… appears to be fratricidal issue. Our investigation teams have reached… with all forensic equipment..."
The military base at Bathinda is located about 280 km northwest of national capital Delhi and is home primarily to families of soldiers. The Pakistan border is less than 100 km west of the town.
With input from agencies
Get Current Updates on India News, Rajya Sabha Election 2024 Live, Gaganyaan Mission Astronauts along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world