Four Soldiers Killed In Shooting At Indian Military Base

Four Soldiers Killed In Shooting At Indian Military Base
A firing incident has killed four army personnel at a military station in the Indian border state of Punjab, the Indian army said, adding that a search operation was continuing.

An unknown number of shooters were still at large at the base in Bathinda city, a defense source told Reuters, declining to be named, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Four soldiers died from gunshot injuries sustained during the shootings, which took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning, an Indian army statement said.

The statement did not mention the circumstances or other details about who was responsible.

The incident was not a terror attack and took place in a canteen, a senior police official in Punjab, S P S Parmar, told Reuters.

The base was sealed off and a joint investigation with the local police was underway, the army statement said, adding that no other injuries or damage to property were reported.

"All aspects, including the possible case of involvement of an (assault) rifle along with 28 rounds reported missing two days ago, are being ascertained," the army said.

The shootings took place at 4:35 a.m. (23:05 GMT), the statement said.

The military station, located about 280 kilometers (175 miles) north of the capital New Delhi, houses mostly families of soldiers and is a residential army base.

The shooting took place as the state was on high-security alert a day ahead of Baisakhi, a large Sikh and Hindu festival marking the start of the harvesting season.

Punjab has also been on edge since last month when authorities launched a manhunt for Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh.

Singh has in recent months rallied a huge following by demanding the creation of Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland, the struggle for which caused deadly violence in Indian Punjab in the 1980s and 1990s.

He remains at large, despite a huge dragnet involving thousands of police officers and a statewide internet shutdown that lasted for several days.