Pathankot attack: Terrorist called mother, said ‘I am going to be a martyr’

In one of the phone calls, a Home Ministry official familiar with tape-recordings made by the Intelligence Bureau, said a man with a southern Punjab accent repeatedly tells his mother that he is heading towards martyrdom.

Written by Praveen Swami , Sagnik Chowdhury | New Delhi | Updated: January 3, 2016 9:47 am
pathankot, pathankot attack, pathankot terrorist, terroist pakistan calls, punjab sp missing car, punjab sp car abduction, punjab terror attack, pathankot terror attack, taxi driver Ikagar Singh, ikagar singh death, parkash singh badal, punjab news, punjab attack news, punjab news, india news Security men stand guard as an armored vehicle moves near the Indian Air Force base that was attacked by militants in Pathankot, Punjab on Saturday. (Source: PTI)

Intelligence officials attribute the Pathankot airbase attack to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad on the basis of intercepted phone calls made late Friday by a member of the assault team.

Home Ministry officials said a full-scale alert was ordered late Friday evening after information emerged that five armed men had hijacked a vehicle used by a Punjab Police officer. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval ordered an élite unit of the National Security Guard to be moved to Pathankot, in anticipation of a possible attack on the IAF base.

Read | Highlights of the operation from Pathankot airbase

Following the alert, the Intelligence Bureau intercepted multiple phone calls made by a member of the Jaish unit in Pakistan. The phone calls, government sources said, were made between 12.30 am Saturday morning and 3.30 am, likely just minutes before the attack.

In one of the phone calls, a Home Ministry official familiar with tape-recordings made by the Intelligence Bureau, said a man with a southern Punjab accent repeatedly tells his mother that he is heading towards martyrdom. The mother can be heard crying in the background, at one point gathering herself to ask her son if he has eaten.

The other calls, sources said, were made to several phone numbers in Pakistan, some of which, intelligence officials, said are known to be linked to senior Jaish figures.

“I’m speculating here,” said an intelligence official who listened to the intercepted calls Friday night, “but the men seemed to be hysterical, and not very well-trained”.

The conversations, he said, reminded him of Naved Yakub, a Lashkar-e-Taiba jihadist held in Udhampur last year, who dropped out of school to escape a life of poverty by joining the jihadist group.

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Based on the phone calls, investigators believe the men crossed one of the streams running across the India-Pakistan border in Gurdaspur — the same route used by a group of Lashkar terrorists who attacked a police station in Gurdaspur last year, killing nine.

Punjab Police investigators believe the four terrorists first hijacked an Innova van, after crossing the border early Friday morning. The car stalled on the Pathankot-Jammu highway with a flat tyre, after which the terrorists are thought to have executed its driver, Ikagar Singh.

ALSO READ: Pathankot terror attack strikes at heart of PM Modi’s Pakistan peacemaking 

The terrorists then hijacked a vehicle used by Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, who was travelling home from a religious leader’s Dera, along with his friend Rajesh Verma, a jeweller, and Verma’s cook Madan Gopal.

From testimony given by Verma to the Punjab Police, the men were carrying a large bag, possibly filled with food, assault rifles, a global positioning set and a cellphone.

The group, intelligence officials said, made multiple calls using a cellphone taken from their captives, as well as from a second cellphone that Verma said they were carrying.

The precise role of the NSG in the defence of the airbase, though, remained unclear, and there was no official account of how the terrorists succeeded in penetrating its 10-foot outer perimeter walls, topped with razor-sharp cobra wire, and this in spite of specialist warnings.

Early investigations suggest that the men walked along the National Highway to the Air Force base undetected, from the location where they abandoned their car.

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First Published on: January 3, 2016 4:49 am
  1. A
    Alok mohan
    Jan 3, 2016 at 3:21 am
    Religion make blind "A mother to be ready his son to murdered by arms forces" . Avoid eligion live long
    Reply
    1. D
      Digi
      Jan 6, 2016 at 5:17 am
      Whats wrong with you
      Reply
      1. मनीष
        Jan 3, 2016 at 5:21 am
        Every time when India is terrorized by stanis, Indian Muslims have provided support to those stani terrorists. Enough is enough. Excluding the SICKulars, any Indian who wants to contribute to the war against terrorism in India, should stop buying things made in an Islamic country and stop doing business with a Muzzie owned store/business. You have to act!
        Reply
        1. मनीष
          Jan 3, 2016 at 4:37 am
          Every time when India is terrorized by stanis, Indian Muslims have provided support to those stani terrorists. Enough is enough. Excluding the SICKulars, any one in India wants to contribute to this war against terrorism in India, should stop buying things made in an Islamic country and stop doing business with a Muzzie owned store/business.
          Reply
          1. मनीष
            Jan 3, 2016 at 5:48 am
            What is your role? Every time when India is terrorized by stanis, Indian Muslims have provided support to those stani terrorists. Enough is enough. Excluding the SICKulars, any Indian who wants to contribute to the war against terrorism in India, should stop buying things made in an Islamic country and stop doing business with a Muzzie owned store/business. You have to act!
            Reply
            1. मनीष
              Jan 3, 2016 at 5:48 am
              What is your role? Every time when India is terrorized by stanis, Indian Muslims have provided support to those stani terrorists. Enough is enough. Excluding the SICKulars, any Indian who wants to contribute to the war against terrorism in India, should stop buying things made in an Islamic country and stop doing business with a Muzzie owned store/business. You have to act!
              Reply
              1. मनीष
                Jan 3, 2016 at 5:49 am
                Yes, he was lured by a Muzzie. He also must be punished.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Rudram
                  Jan 3, 2016 at 12:13 am
                  Modi should focus on defending India; not eating ladoos with Nawaz Sharif
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Archpagan
                    Jan 3, 2016 at 6:19 am
                    India should poison water of river Sindhu and blame it on some 'non-state actor' like 'Abhinav Bharat' and wash its hands off that incident. In that way stan can be compelled to forget about Kashmir and appeal for talks about Sindhu water.
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Arjun
                      Jan 4, 2016 at 3:59 am
                      Once again government is ready to hide some scams or something else. This is their old trick to hide scams from news channel.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        ayush
                        Jan 3, 2016 at 11:42 am
                        "martyrdom"? huh !! We have to spread awareness of the real meanings of such words, so that people cannot misuse them in luring teenagers out of poverty to do hateful acts of violence.
                        Reply
                        1. K
                          Kaliyug
                          Jan 3, 2016 at 6:08 pm
                          The mother will be proud that 72 virgins are waiting for him, while his organ has disintegrated into bits of unidentifiable mess.
                          Reply
                          1. C
                            coolguy
                            Jan 5, 2016 at 6:51 am
                            Then u must also boycot petroleum products.....gulfs are muslims...u r in a habit of linking everything with Islam.....gaadi se bail gaadi pe aa jayega.....
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              Arun
                              Jan 3, 2016 at 11:47 am
                              Why not Army marches towards POK and destroy all terrorist training camps.We need no permission from UN all that matter from stan.POK is our territory.We may seek advice from Israel about what it would have done if its country is being attacked by terrorist coming from neighbor Country and take action as advised by Israel.Terrorist activities spreading like cancel in India and best way is chemo therapy to root out cancer.
                              Reply
                              1. H
                                Heartless World
                                Jan 4, 2016 at 9:09 am
                                They should have hired a good script writer. This script is very plain..
                                Reply
                                1. H
                                  Hitchcock
                                  Jan 3, 2016 at 2:05 pm
                                  Why we are not able to trap such calls before attacks ???
                                  Reply
                                  1. H
                                    Hindu
                                    Jan 3, 2016 at 2:46 am
                                    K-C-U-FFFFF HIS MOTHER WHO GAVE BIRTH TO HIM...BTW PRAVEEN SWAMY PLEASE INVESTIGATE HOW MANY HUSBAND DID HIS MOTHER HAVE ??
                                    Reply
                                    1. K
                                      kamath Ramesh
                                      Jan 3, 2016 at 7:42 am
                                      Are these evidence of any use or just to make headlines in the media. Why can't India take these evidences to UN and other developed countries fighting terror to bring sanction on Pak or pressurize Pak to give access to India or UN forces to flush out militants outfits and arrest intentionally proclaimed terrorists like Hafiz and Masud.
                                      Reply
                                      1. M
                                        Me Marathi
                                        Jan 3, 2016 at 6:01 am
                                        This fanaticism is so deep rooted that even p!!g porki jihadi ladies are also involved. No wonders that andrabi, tashfeen , Aqsa Mahmood, Shamima Begum , Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana,jihadi jane ...etc are in forefront to wage jihad against innocents.
                                        Reply
                                        1. M
                                          Me Marathi
                                          Jan 3, 2016 at 3:12 pm
                                          This fanaticism is so deep rooted that even p!!g porki islamic jihadi ladies are also involved. No wonders that andrabi, tashfeen , Aqsa Mahmood, Shamima Begum , Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana,jihadi jane ...etc are in forefront to wage islamic jihad against innocents.
                                          Reply
                                          1. m
                                            michelle_vedic_human
                                            Jan 3, 2016 at 11:29 am
                                            This pig called his motherbear to say he is a martyr and going to die as a Martyr.-------but than his motherbear found out moments later he was shot at a blank point range by Indian army and died as a terrorist.
                                            Reply
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