The Punjab Police, who had put five SSPs, two IGPs and nearly a thousand cops on the job to trace an SAD leader who had shot an ASI within 12 hours of the murder, have not shown the same urgency in nabbing an Akali sarpanch accused of killing a youth.
Even after more than 48 hours of the incident, the police have failed to apprehend Nangli Wanja Wala sarpanch Amarjit Singh and his associates.
Amritsar (rural) SSP PS Virk said they had arrested one of the accused, Sarwan Singh, and efforts were on to nab the others.
The Amritsar (rural) police have registered a case of abduction and murder against the sarpanch and 10 others.
According to police reports, the sarpanch and his men kidnapped 20-year-old Gurpreet Singh Gopi on Saturday night and inflicted severe injuries on him with a spear. He died in hospital on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday. There were close to 40 injuries on his body.
Gopi's family members said the police visited them on Tuesday afternoon, but did not show any sense of urgency to nab the accused. "If the government can press in so many cops to arrest the accused in the ASI murder case, why has the same purposefulness not been shown in arresting this sarpanch? When the police went to the house of Pargat Singh, where Gopi was tortured, why didn't they arrest him on Saturday night? Most of the accused were very much in the village when the cops were here that night," Gopi's mother Sukhraj Kaur said.
The family said they were Akali supporters and Gopi, an Akali worker, had been assisting the sarpanch in various political activities.
Gopi was the only son of her mother. His father had died when he was a child.
Narrating the incident, Sukhraj told reporters, "We were sleeping at the construction site of our house when the sarpanch, along with 10-12 others, came there at about 11 pm and forcibly took away Gopi. As we tried to chase them, someone fired three gunshots in the air. We got scared and came back. When the police brought him to us a couple of hours later, there were injuries all over his body. It was evident that he had been brutally tortured."
She said she did not know why the sarpanch killed her son, but the police had recorded Gopi's statement. "No policeman has come to our house so far." However, as she said this, a police team led by a DSP reached the house.
Villagers said Gopi probably had illicit relations with a woman related to one of the assailants.
Gopi's cousin Gurlal Singh said Gopi had helped the sarpanch on several occasions. Another relative, Balwinder Singh, who was present when the kidnapping took place, demanded the immediate arrest of all the accused named in the FIR. "We just want justice," he said.