An incident of suspected fratricide occurred at an officers’ mess in the Bathinda military station in Punjab on Wednesday, resulting in the death of four Indian Army jawans.
Police officials have ruled out a terror angle, and quick reaction teams were deployed immediately after the shooting. The army said the four army jawans were of an artillery unit. The area has been cordoned off, and combing operations are currently underway.
Four soldiers succumbed to gunshot injuries sustained during the firing incident, which took place around 4:35am, the Indian Army said in a statement. The statement by the Jaipur-based South Western Command did not mention the circumstances or other details about who was responsible for the incident.
News agency ANI, citing sources, reported that a weapon and some rounds went missing from an army unit two days prior to the incident.
“All aspects, including the possible case of involvement of an INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifle along with 28 rounds reported missing two days back, are being ascertained,” the statement said.
“No other injuries to personnel or loss/damage to property have been reported. The area continues to be sealed off and joint investigations with Punjab Police are being coordinated to establish the facts of the case,” the command said.
The families of jawans killed in the incident are being informed about the loss of lives, the army said.
Bathinda SSP Gulneet Khurana has denied any terrorist angle in the crime and added that the incident took place within campus. “Matter is under investigation. We are in constant touch with the authorities of the military station for an in-depth probe,” added the SSP.
The Bathinda military station is the largest military base in Asia and home to the army’s HQs 10 Corps. The pivot ‘Chetak’ corps is responsible for defending India’s border with Pakistan in south Punjab and north Rajasthan.