A suspected Khalistan Commando Force terrorist opened fire at the railway station in Ludhiana, 80 km south of Chandigarh, killing a tea vendor and injuring two Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel on Tuesday.
The alleged terrorist, Balbir Singh Bhootna, opened fire after the GRP men told him to produce the licence of the .30 bore Chinese pistol they found in his luggage during a routine check on passengers detraining from the Pune-Jammu Jhelum Express.
Bhootna fled from the spot and shot a tea vendor, Santosh (only name known) on the platform when he tried to stop the terrorist by holding on to his leg. Santosh died in hospital later.
“The tea vendor did not let go of the terrorist even after he was threatened with death. The terrorist shot him in the chest and ran off,” said an eyewitness who did not want to be named.
It was around 3.30 in the morning when the two GRP men, Niranjan Singh and Karampal Singh were conducting a routine check.
When the cops got suspicious of the pistol, Bhootna told them he had a gun licence. When he was told to show it, Bhootna fled from the spot and hid under a compartment of the train.
An exchange of fire took place and the GRP men got injured. The duo was soon joined by Punjab Police officials in bulletproof vests. The policemen had by this time detained Bhootna’s wife and were negotiating with the terrorist to surrender.
The dogged cops finally convinced him to surrender three hours later. Bhootna and his wife Sukhwinder Kaur are under arrest.
Additional DGP (Railways) Chandra Shekhar said Bhootna was involved in about a dozen cases, including murder and cases under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, the Arms Act and the Explosives Act.