Srinagar, Nov. 28 (NNN): In the worst incident of its kind in 15 years, an irate paramilitary jawan of the central reserve police force (CRPF) gunned down seven of his colleagues and critically injured two others before being killed in retaliatory fire at a camp in the north Kashmir town of Baramulla, 54 kms from Srinagar, around midnight on Saturday night.
"A colleague of ours, Constable Deka indiscriminately opened fire and in that six people immediately died on the spot," said M S Aggarwal, DIG, CRPF.
While Constable Deka died in the firing, two others injured were now out of danger. One of the wounded however succumbed to his injuries in the hospital, he added.
The incident happened late last night at the base camp of the 152 battalion of the CRPF.
CRPF officials are tightlipped about the incident and were expected to make a statement later in the day.
Panic and chaos kept the CRPF personnel from reacting immediately.
The police said the constable belonging to the 152 CRPF battalion, posted inside the company headquarters at Baramulla, went on a shooting spree around midnight. Before guards could respond he had killed seven of his colleagues, including the company commander, who was of the rank of inspector, and another sub-inspector.
"The soldier sprayed gunfire from his automatic rifle on his colleagues. We don't know the details as the witnesses who could have provided us details are no more. In all, eight soldiers died in the incident including the trooper," a senior CRPF officer told rediff.com website.
The officer said two critically injured soldiers are undergoing treatment at the Soura Medical Institute in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, an inquiry has been ordered into the incident. The Inspector General has said that all aspects that prompted the jawan to take the extreme step are being investigated.
It is worth mentioning here that there have been several incidents of troopers reacting violently to the stress of being posted in Jammu and Kashmir. Psychologists and counselors have been employed by various army and paramilitary units to sort out the problems of tension and trauma among troopers and officers.
Such studies have indicated that continued distance from their families, the discharge of duties in an extremely hostile environment and the absence of recreational facilities are said to be the main causes for such ugly incidents.
Many soldiers have killed commanding officers on the refusal of leave or in knee-jerk responses to the call of duty. An incident like last night's encounter is a major challenge to security managers in Kashmir.
Heroin Seized: Meanwhile, security forces have recovered a huge consignment of drugs from the outskirts of Jammu city.
The haul of 11 kg of heroin is worth Rs 15 crore in the international market and is said to have been smuggled in from Pakistan through the international border.
"We raided area in Gangyal and recovered 11 packets of heroin. It was in pure form and also had a marking of Pakistan weighing around 11 kgs," said Kamal Saini, SSP, Jammu.
During the last decade, the border belt of R S Pura was a haven for smugglers but over the past few years a constant vigil on the borders made drug smuggling virtually impossible.
But now with the ceasefire in place, smugglers are once again having a free run.
The modus operandi is quite simple. A consignment of drugs is smuggled into India by a guide or person who knows the topography well.
Once on the Indian side, it is left at a particular place or in the fields close to the border to be picked up and transported to Delhi or Mumbai.
The threat of smugglers has scared many villagers staying near the border areas.
Sham Lal earns his livelihood by selling vegetables in villages close to the international border.
Throughout the day he keeps his young unemployed son with him fearing that he could be used by the smugglers.
"He could not pass his matric examination and now since morning he is with me, so that he does not get into bad company. Whatever I earn, we try and do with it," says Lal.