Source: Defense News
NIA Evidence so Far Points to Four, Not Six, Pathankot Attackers
However, forensic experts are yet to certify charred remains picked up from the encounter site as those of suspected terrorists No. 5 and 6
NEW DELHI: The confusion over the number of terrorists who attacked the Pathankot airbase on January 2 seems to be clearing up with evidence gathered by NIA pointing to only four Fidayeen.
However, forensic experts are yet to certify charred remains picked up from the encounter site as those of suspected terrorists No. 5 and 6. The evidence of two additional terrorists, suspected to be holed up in the ground floor of airmen’s billet No.149, is seen as rather flimsy on four grounds.
The design of the airmen’s billet left little scope for a grenade to be lobbed from anywhere but the main door, which was too risky an option given the presence of NSG commandos outside.
Then, the version that steel almirahs and cots were stacked up against the door to block the entrance is punctured by the fact that the almirahs were firmly fixed to the wall and could not have been moved. Further, it had been claimed that the “two additional terrorists” were not carrying AK-47s, as is normal for fidayeens, and chose to confront the Black Cats with just a pistol. The non-recovery of the pistol or even its mangled metal remains has left investigators foxed.
Finally, going by the count of discarded food packets recovered from the place where the terrorists hid for six hours after the infiltration, they are unlikely to have sufficed for six able-bodied men.
Given that the ground floor, which was badly burnt in the counter-operation, was built just like the second floor, the partitions are understood to have run right up to the ceiling and the room had no windows.
According to National Security Guard (NSG) director general R C Tayal, when NSG personnel tried to break open the door on the ground floor of the billet, a grenade was indeed lobbed at his men, injuring one. “We had sanitised the billet earlier but when our personnel found the door locked from inside the next morning, we became suspicious that there were fidayeen holed up inside. When we tried to enter, they lobbed a grenade. That is when we bombed the billet, which resulted in a broken door and smashed walls,” he said.
When asked about the almirahs, Tayal conceded that possibly cots and other furniture was placed against the door. “We sent in a robot to break open the door but it ran into an obstruction,” Tayal said.
Forensic experts are yet to certify charred remains picked up from the encounter site as those of suspected terrorists No. 5 and 6. in the stike.