Four soldiers of the 18 Horse Regiment of the Indian Army were killed in the recent Bathinda Military Station firing.
The deceased soldiers belonged to the 80 Medium Regiment – an artillery unit. There is no 18 Horse Regiment in the Indian Army
While the Indian army and Punjab police continue to probe the recent firing incident at Bathinda military station that killed four jawans, many twitter handles, including verified ones, “revealed” that the victims of the incident belonged to the 18 Horse Regiment and that “a Sikh soldier allegedly killed four Hindu soldiers”
Several Twitter users used the information to “uncover facts” about the Bathinda firing.
Such posts can be seen here, here and here.
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Note: As the investigation into the matter is still on, the scope of this fact check is restricted to the claim on the deceased soldier belonging to the 18 Horse Regiment.
A keyword search for “Bathinda,” “army,” and “firing” on Google yielded a tweet by news agency ANI, dated April 12, 2023, detailing the incident. It stated, “Four army jawans of an artillery unit succumbed to gunshot injuries sustained during the firing incident at Bathinda Military Station. No other injuries to personnel or loss/damage to property were reported. The area continues to be sealed off, and joint investigations with Punjab Police are being coordinated to establish the facts of the case. All aspects, including the possible case of involvement of an INSAS rifle along with 28 rounds reported missing two days back, are being ascertained: Indian Army.”
Further, multiple reports over the past 24 hours have confirmed that there were four casualties in the Bathinda military station firing on April 12, 2023. Such reports can be seen here, here and here.
Newschecker also accessed a copy of the FIR filed at Cantt Bathinda Police Station in this regard, confirming four casualties.
Identities of The 4 Deceased
We skimmed through various news reports on the incident, and found that the four deceased have been identified as Gunners Sagar Banne, Yogesh Kumar J, Santosh M Nagaral, and Kamalesh R. The South-Western Command reported no other injuries to personnel or loss of or damage to property.
Deceased Not From 18 Horse Regiment
Newschecker continued our investigation to ascertain whether the four deceased belonged to the 18 Horse Regiment or not.
Notably, Major Ashutosh Shukla was identified as the complainant in the FIR copy, and, as per multiple media reports, he belongs to the 80 Medium Regiment of Artillery.
Further, a keyword search for “Bathinda” and “80 Medium Regiment” threw up a report by India Today, dated April 12, 2023, elaborating on the incident. It read, “The jawans who died were from the Indian Army’s 80 Medium Regiment – an artillery unit.”
Reports in Business Today, Aaj Tak and The Tribune also stated that the four deceased were from the 80 Medium Regiment of the Indian Army.
There was no mention of the 18 Horse regiment in any reports/statements pertaining to the fatal shooting at Bathinda Army cantt on Wednesday.
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18 Horse Regiment Not A Part Of Indian Army
We skimmed through multiple publicly available lists of Indian Army regiments, but did not find any mention of 18 Horse Regiment. Additionally, we noticed that several social media users, including Journalist Shiv Aroor, pointed out that there is no 18 Horse Regiment in the Indian Army.
However, several other users pointed out that there is a regiment by the same name in the Pakistani army.
We also came across a notification by the Pakistani Ministry of Defence in a 2020 Gazette, identifying 18 Horse as one of their regiments.
Accused Still At Large, Identity Still Under Probe
The accused in the Bathinda cantt firing are still at large and their identities are still unclear, as per the news reports. According to the FIR, “two unidentified men in white kurta-pyjama, their faces and heads covered, were seen coming out of the barracks after the firing.”
Bathinda SP (investigation) Ajay Gandhi has reportedly said two persons in civil dress were believed to be behind the shooting.
Newschecker was not independently able to verify the claims regarding the religious identity of the accused in the Bathinda cantt firing incident. Other allegations, which claimed that soldiers were being probed for links with Amritpal Singh, were also unverifiable.
Viral claim that four soldiers of the 18 Horse Regiment died in the recent shootout at Bathinda cantt is misleading. The deceased belonged to the Indian Army’s 80 Medium Regiment – an artillery unit. Additionally, there is no 18 Horse Regiment in the Indian Army.
Result: Partly False
Tweet By ANI, Dated April 12, 2023
Report By Hindustan Times, Dated April 12, 2023
Report By India Today, Dated April 12, 2023
Gazette By Pakistani Authority, Dated June 3, 2020
(With Inputs From Shaminder Singh)
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