A Lieutenant Colonel heading the National Security Guards’ (NSG) bomb disposal squad was among the seven fatalities in the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force station. Five NSG commandos were among the 20 who sustained injuries.
The high number of casualties and injuries despite “specific Intelligence inputs” is being viewed in security circles with concern. Particularly a senior officer of an elite counter-terrorist force losing his life during sanitisation operations. A commando from the IAF’s Garud special force, Gursevek Singh, was also killed.
Lt Col Niranjan E Kumar was commissioned into 10 Engineer Regiment in 2004 and moved to the NSG on deputation in May 2014. He leaves behind his wife and an 18-month-old daughter.
The last rites are scheduled to be performed at his hometown, Palakkad in Kerala, tomorrow.
The mortal remains would be airlifted to Bengaluru and thereafter ferried by road.
A tweet by the Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, stated that the officer was killed in “mopping-up operations”.
Reports suggested that the NSG casualties occurred due to an explosion from either an IED that the terrorists were carrying or a booby-trapped body that was moved by them.
One of the NSG jawans, Bhoop Singh, who sustained serious head injuries, has been airlifted to Chandigarh.
Hailing from Ambala, IAF commando Gursevak had been hit during the initial gunfire. He carried on fighting and later succumbed to his injuries. He got married a month ago.
Most of the other fatalities were from the Defence Security Corps (DSC), a branch comprising retired armed forces personnel who are reemployed for undertaking guard duties at military establishments. They included 51-year-old national shooting champion Subedar Fateh Singh and Hav Kulwant Singh, both of whom were from Gurdaspur, and jawans Jagdish Singh and Sanjiv Kumar.
One of the DSC jawans had chased a terrorist and killed him with the terrorist’s own weapon before falling to fire from the other intruders.
Pathankot Operation Continues: Government denies security lapse
NEW DELHI — A shootout between Indian security forces and armed gunmen stretched into its second day on Sunday, January 3, at the Pathankot air force base in Punjab, near India’s border with Pakistan. At least seven Indian personnel and at least four terrorists have been killed in the fighting so far, as per statements released by officials in media.
Operations to clear the Pathankot air base continue as at least two gunmen were still holding out against the security forces on Sunday, Jan 3, said Rajiv Mehrishi, home secretary, in a televised news conference in New Delhi, while admitting that they came to know about the two more terrorist only on Sunday morning when the duo started firing during the cleaning exercise.
“We are sure that still there are at least two more terrorists as firing has come from two different places,” Mr. Mehrishi said.
The gunmen have also wounded eight air force personnel and 12 members of the National Security Guard, he said.