An Army jawan was killed in a blast on Thursday when one the 15 rocket launcher shells that he had allegedly brought to sell to a scrap dealer in the civil area of Ferozepur cantonment exploded as he hammered it to convince the shopkeeper that it was junk ammunition, police said.
“Such was the intensity of the blast that the Army jawan, identified as Matushi from Assam Rifles, was blown to pieces,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Ferozepur, Varinderpal Singh said.
“The man was wearing olive green uniform and his socks were also of the same colour,” added Vibhor Sharma, DSP Ferozepur Cantonment.
The Army officials, however, said they are waiting for the police to complete the probe into the incident.
As per the police, the Army Jawan had brought 15 old rocket launcher shells to the junk shop located close to cantonment area but the dealer, Manjit Singh, refused to buy them.
“He was trying to convince the dealer to buy the scrap shells, but the latter refused. The jawan remained adamant saying the shells were old and defused and there were no explosives inside them. In a bid to prove his point, he went at the back of the shop and started to hammer the shells to show that they contained no explosives. However, one of the shells went off killing him at the spot,” the DSP said.
The dealer was saved as he was not standing close to the spot when the scrap seller was hammering the shells, the DSP said, adding that the police was also investigating into as to where the Jawan procured the shells from.
Meanwhile, the Army called for a bomb disposal squad from Jalandhar cantonment to diffuse the rest the shells, but they were yet to arrive till the time of filing this report. The road where accident occurred was sealed by the Army for public.
Col Varun Malhotra from Army cantonment also reached the spot, but refused to comment on whether the empty shells were brought from within the Cantonment area or from somewhere else.
Sources in the police said that Jawan may have collected the shells that didn’t burst during the practice sessions and would have brought it to the junk shop to make some money.
Army spokesman Naresh Vig, meawhile, said that police was looking into the matter and “only after their inquiry we will get to know the details of rocket launchers”.
“Also, the bomb disposal squad can through more light on the type of the bombs,” he added.
Not the first time
This is the second such incident at junk dealers’ shops in the past one year in the area. There are four scrap dealers in the civil area of Ferozepur cantonment and their main business is buying scrapped empty shells. In Ruknamugla village, three years ago, two persons were killed when a a farmer who had found and empty shell tried to clean it.
Sources claim that Army Jawans regularly bring scrap from inside the Cantonment to sell it to the junk dealers.
Sources revealed that the scrap shops have been built illegally by encroaching the government land.
-via Indian Express.