Jammu: Cook Madan Gopal, 61, who was in the police SUV that was hijacked by terrorists in Punjab last week, alleges that he was beaten up and tortured by the police when they questioned him after the incident.
Mr Gopal works as a cook at the official residence of Punjab police officer Salwinder Singh and was with him when they were abducted by the terrorists who later attacked an air force base in Pathankot.
Like Mr Singh, Mr Gopal has described how their car was stopped by men in military uniform when they were returning to Gurdaspur from a Gurdwara in Pathankot. "They hit me with the butt of the gun, they tied us up and threw us in the jungle. Somehow Salwinder Singh managed to untie the knots that bound him and then mine," Madan Gopal told NDTV.
The police, he said, did not believe them. "I have served for 40 years, but I was beaten up and tortured by the police...they did not believe our statement," he said, holding out his hands to show what he said were bruises from the beating.
Dressed in a woollen cap and sweater, Madan Gopal said on the night of Thursday last, when they were abducted, he was not even adequately clothed against the bitter winter cold in Punjab. "We left suddenly, so I was not wearing clothes like this," the cook said.
The terrorists he said, came out of sugarcane fields that line the road and flagged down the car. "They were wearing uniforms, so we initially didn't suspect them," he said, adding that the abductors talked on the phone to their handlers, reporting that they had captured three men.
Madan Gopal and Salwinder Singh were interrogated by the the National Investigation Agency yesterday.
The terrorists who abducted them, apparently used the police car, fitted with a blue beacon, to enter Pathankot past multiple checkposts. A report said they dumped the car 500 metres from the air base that they attacked in the early hours of Saturday.
Seven military personnel were killed in the terror attack and 22 were injured.