Dibrugarh, March 6: A day after five soldiers were killed in a suspected brawl at an army base in Jammu, a CRPF camp in Dhemaji district of Assam witnessed the bizarre spectacle of a head constable gunning down two of his colleagues and injuring another without any provocation.
Chocha Varajang, in his forties, was also wounded when some stunned colleagues opened fire in retaliation. The incident occurred around 6.15 am.
Witnesses told the police that Varajang snatched a light machine gun from a sentry, Sanjay Santhalia, and started firing indiscriminately. Two head constables, Nawal Singh and Ganga Ram, died on the spot and a sepoy, Mahesh Kumar, was seriously wounded. Both the assailant and the injured Kumar were airlifted to the Assam Medical College and Hospital.
Doctors at the hospital said Varajang was out of danger, but Kumar, who took bullets on his chest and stomach, was in a critical condition.
Dhemaji additional superintendent of police (headquarters) Swapnanil Deka said over phone from Jonai, where the CRPF camp is located, that there was “no apparent reason or provocation for Varajang to kill his colleagues”.
The head constable had returned from Gujarat, his native state, only last month. “So there is no question of him being denied leave,” a CRPF official said, scotching speculation that Varajang was ang-ry at not being able to go home.
Police investigators perused his personal diary, but found “no evidence of depression or anger”.
Deka quoted CRPF personnel from the camp as saying that the assailant was “in a very jovial mood till last evening and even played volleyball with his colleagues”.
The CRPF personnel who escorted Varajang and Kumar to hospital declined to discuss the incident. “Only our officers are authorised to speak,” one of them said.
The 168th battalion of the CRPF, to which all of them are attached, is headquartered at Balipara in Sonitpur district. One company is based in Jonai town.
The second-in-command of the battalion reached Jonai later in the day to start an internal probe into the incident.
Deka said 49 rounds were fired from the light machine gun that Varajang snatched from a sentry and nine rounds from the self-loading rifles of the personnel who retaliated.
The firing, which continued for 15 minutes, triggered panic in the area.