AMRITSAR (TIP): A day after one person was killed at a poll rally in Bathinda district, two more — a SAD and a Congress supporter — were gunned down on May 17 at Chakk Mishri Khan village in Amritsar during a clash between two groups. Zila parishad and block samiti polls will be held in Punjab on May 19. Tension was brewing between two groups in the village over a consensus to elect the village sarpanch.
Though police said the clash was a result of an old rivalry between two families and the immediate trigger was a dispute related to two kanals and 13 marlas of land, the prime accused in the case is Jagir Singh — SAD sarpanch of the village. The father of a member of the rival group, Manjit Singh, is likely to run for polls to the sarpanch’s post. Following the incident,along with Jagir Singh, two others — Mangat Singh and Major Singh — who allegedly accompanied him, were arrested.
Eleven others were booked in the case. The deceased have been identified as Gurjinder Singh (45), a Congress supporter, and Balkar Singh (in his early 20s), a SAD supporter. “The accused used a .12 bore weapon to kill Gurjinder. He was shot in the chest and died on the spot. We have recovered the weapon,” Border Range IG Ishwar Chander said. Balkar, on the other hand, died of a bullet injury in his left ribs. Chander added that in 1966, Jagir, his brother and some others had murdered Gurjinder’s uncle Dalip Singh. “The immediate trigger was a land dispute. Jagir Singh, accompanied by a number of persons, had headed towards the house of Manjit Singh. When Gurjinder tried to intervene, he was shot dead…
The murders had nothing to do with the block samiti and zila parishad polls. The block samiti candidate has already been elected unanimously,” he said. Denying Congress’ allegations that police were being selective in getting weapons deposited ahead of the upcoming polls, Chander said: “All three weapons belonging to Jagir Singh had already been deposited. We are investigating whether the weapon used was licensed.
People from places like Amritsar also accompanied Jagir Singh when he went towards Manjit Singh’s house.” The Congress, meanwhile, alleged that Balkar was murdered by the Akalis themselves to get a cross-case registered. “Manjit Singh’s father Sawinder Singh was to contest the panchayat polls. This is one of the reasons why Jagir Singh and his men attacked them. They were armed and when Gurjinder Singh went to intervene, he was shot dead. None of the Congressmen had any weapon. After Gurjinder was shot dead, SAD leaders shot their own man Balkar Singh to get a cross-case registered,” said Congress supporter Nirvail Singh.
Jagir’s supporter Narinder Singh, however, denied the allegations. “Manjit Singh’s group first opened fire in order to kill Jagir Singh, but the bullet hit Balkar Singh. Even the Congressmen could have later shot Gurjinder to get a cross-case registered.” The IG, meanwhile, said as of now, no cross case had been registered. “We are investigating how Balkar Singh was killed,” he said, adding that 15 police parties had been formed to arrest the remaining accused. Congress leader from the area, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, described Gurjidner’s killing as a “cold blooded murder”. Asked about Balkar’s death, he said: “I have been told by Congressmen that Akalis themselves shot him dead. I will look into it after visiting the village.”