'Knew Right Away They Were Terrorists,' Says Cop Who Was Abducted

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'Knew Right Away They Were Terrorists,' Says Cop Who Was Abducted

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On Thursday last, Salwinder Singh was on his way back to Gurdaspur from Pathankot when his official SUV, fitted with a blue beacon, was stopped by the terrorists.

Chandigarh:  Salwinder Singh, the Punjab police officer who says he was abducted by the terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air base, told NDTV today that he instantly knew his abductors were terrorists as they had AK-47 guns and wore military jackets.

"I knew right away that these were terrorists...They had AK-47 guns and they threatened to shoot us...They were speaking in Urdu, Hindi," said the police officer, who was interrogated for about six hours by the National Investigation Agency or NIA on Monday.

On Thursday last, Mr Singh was on his way back to Gurdaspur from Pathankot when his official SUV, fitted with a blue beacon, was stopped by the terrorists. Salwinder Singh says he was in plain clothes and unarmed because he had visited a Gurudwara.

"If I had a gun, maybe I would have fought against them, become martyred...There were four, five people with arms, how could I have done anything?" he said today, describing how he and two other people in the car with him were pushed down and told that they would be shot if they spoke up.

In statements that have been questioned for inconsistencies, Mr Singh has said that he and his jeweller friend Rajesh Verma and cook Madan Gopal, who accompanied him on the trip to Pathankot on evening of Thursday last, were driven some distance by the terrorists, who then pushed them out of the car.

"They snatched our telephones and tied up our hands and legs...taped our mouths," Mr Singh said today.

The terrorists attacked the air force base early on Saturday morning. Salwinder Singh's SUV was found abandoned near the base - the terrorists had apparently used the police car with a beacon to enter Pathankot, zipping through check-posts without being stopped.

The terrorists entered the base in two groups. After many hours of gun battle, the National Security Guard (NSG) said yesterday that five terrorists had been killed. The body of a sixth terrorist is believed to be under the rubble of the building they hid in at the base, sources said.

Combing operations are still on, but sources say there are unlikely to be any more terrorists hidden at the base.

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