Some have blamed the Punjab Police for their inability to prevent the Pathankot terror strike in which seven defence personnel were killed. And the focus of a lot of criticism has been directed at Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh whose car the terrorists used to get to the base.
Stopped by the terrorists, Singh and the occupants of his car were tied up and while many have questioned whether the police official did enough to try and prevent the attack, the police official on Tuesday said he was lucky to get away alive.
Singh said the terrorists had stopped his vehicle while he, a jeweller friend Rajesh Verma, and cook Madan Gopal were returning after paying obeisance at Narot Jaimal Singh shrine in the wee hours of Friday.
Asked why he was in civilian clothes and did not have his gunman with him, Singh said he was returning after offering prayers and therefore chose not to take a police escort along.
“We were blindfolded, our hands tied behind our backs and the terrorists numbering four-five threatened to kill us if we tried to look up,” Singh said on Tuesday.
After the trio were blindfolded, the terrorists took two of the police official’s three mobiles and fled with his vehicle. The siren in his vehicle also made it clear to the terrorist that the vehicle belonged to a police officer.
Armed with AK-47 rifles, the terrorists initially had no clue that he was a police officer, Singh said. It was only when his bodyguard called on one of his phones and one of the terrorists picked it up, that they realised the person they had caught was a senior officer, Singh said.
“They came back to kill me but by then I had freed my hands and moved from the spot,” he said.
“When they came to know that I was a SP then they told Rajesh that you have deceived us and you will have to face consequences,” the police official said.
Rajesh was attacked by the militants who later dumped him. He is recuperating at a hosptial.
Singh said that the terrorists spoke in Urdu, Punjabi and also Hindi. Since it was dark we could not make out the exact number of terrorists but it looked like about four to five, he said.
“They were carrying AK-47 and GPS,” he said, adding, “We were dumped along with my cook.”
Soon after the SP’s abduction, the terrorists had attacked the air base.
(With inputs from PTI)