By: Rajini KG
April 13 2023
A former Indian Army officer confirmed to Logically Facts that there is no such Indian regiment.
A joint team of the Punjab police and the Indian Army is investigating the firing at Bathinda Military Station in Punjab, India, on April 12, 2023. In the aftermath of the attack, a verified account claimed in a tweet, “according to the sources in the South Western Command of Indian Army, a Sikh soldier has possibly assassinated four Hindu soldiers of 18 Horse ex 33 Armoured Division in Bathinda Military Cantonment. An Army level inquiry has been initiated against Sikh soldiers with ties with Amritpal Singh.” The account in subsequent tweets also alleges a link to Khalistani insurgent leader Jarnail Bhindranwale. Attached to the tweet is an image that shows Sikh soldiers in uniform in a march past.
This post has been retweeted over 200 times, and has over 400 likes, with similar text and narratives being shared by other users linking the shooter to Khalistanis and fugitive Amritpal Singh Sandhu. Sandhu is a Khalistani separatist leader in Punjab who has been raising the demand for a separate state for Sikhs. He has been on the run since March 18.
However, Logically Facts has confirmed there is no regiment called ‘18 Horse’ in the Indian Army. The Indian Army has not revealed the religion of the accused shooter.
Logically Facts reached out to Major Pawan Kumar (retired), who has served in the Jat Regiment, 34th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles in the Indian Army. He responded, “There is no 18 Horse Regiment in the Indian Army. We have 17 Horse Regiment, which is also called Poona Horse.” The official website of the Indian Army did not have an '18 Horse Regiment' listed anywhere.
However, we found that an ‘18 Horse’ regiment exists in the Pakistan Army. We found an official gazette issued by the Pakistan government on June 3, 2020. Page 201 in the document notes colonel appointments of various regiments or battalions.
On cross-checking the image attached to the tweet, we found it is a photograph of the Indian Army’s Sikh regiment during a Republic Day march in 2015. It was captured on January 26, 2015, by AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt for Getty Images.
The Indian Army on April 17, 2023, issued a statement on the shooting, identifying the accused as an Army gunner, according to a report by The Quint. According to the statement, which was also tweeted by journalist Aditya Raj Kaul, one individual "from the Artillery unit where the incident occurred, has confessed to his involvement in stealing of an INSAS rifle and killing four of his colleagues to the Police. Initial investigations indicate that this was apparently due to personal reasons/animosity (sic).”
The Army statement also added that the gunner tried to mislead investigation authorities by claiming that two individuals both wearing white kurta pyjamas fled the scene after the attack. “The statement made by the individual while filing the initial FIR on 12 April, mentioning two persons in civil dress with INSAS rifle and axe was an attempt to divert attention of investigating agencies (sic),” the Army statement said, adding, “It is reiterated that there is no terror angle as speculated earlier in some media reports.”
The four soldiers killed in the Bathinda firing do not belong to the ‘18 Horse Regiment’. There is no such regiment in India, but there is one in the Pakistan army. The religious identity of the shooter, who has been identified, has not been revealed. Hence, we mark this claim as false.
This fact check was updated on April 17, 2023, to include the Indian Army's statement revealing the name of the shooter.