Residents of Jai Singh Wala, the native village of the three prisoners who fled from the police custody after attacking a police party, leaving one head constable dead and another injured on Thursday, are in a state of panic.
Charanjit Begam, who lives near the house of the two accused -- brothers Jaswinder Singh and Kulwinder Singh -- at the village, claimed that she had received threatening calls from the three a fortnight ago.
The allegations were shocking as all three accused -- Jaswinder Singh, Kulwinder Singh and Nahar Singh -- were locked up in the Central Jail Bathinda then.
"I received the calls from the three around 15 days back when they were locked up at the Bathinda Central Jail. I informed the police of the phone number. They called me back and informed me that no phone had been recovered from the three. I again received a call from Kulwinder and Jaswinder from another number threatening to teach me a lesson after coming out of jail," said Begam.
Village sarpanch Jasbir Singh said, "I was warned by the three during their appearance in the local court last month in a case related to the three attacking me. They had warned me that they would be out of the jail soon and teach me a lesson."
Jasbir and Begam are rivals of Hamir Singh, former sarpanch, who is uncle of Jaswinder and Kulwinder.
"I was attacked by them for contesting against Hamir Singh in the last panchayat elections. I have informed the police of the danger to our lives after the three fled from police custody," said Jasbir.
Jaswant Singh, ASI, Civil Lines, Bathinda, said, "We had received a complaint from Charanjit Begam. I myself had gone to the central jail and the authorities had searched the three. But they did not find any mobile phone. I had asked the jail authorities to keep a tab on the accused as they might have hidden the phone."
It is not the first time that they were accused of attacking policemen. They had attacked inspector Malkeet Singh after they were arrested for the first time.
Interestingly, Kulwinder Singh, who fled from the police custody, cannot walk properly due to a permanent fracture in his right ankle.
Muktsar police had suspended Munshi Harraj Singh after the three had run away from the Lambi police station on the night of June 2, 2011.
Police announce reward
Meanwhile, the mortal remains of head constable Avtar Singh were cremated with honours here on Friday.
Also, SSP Ravcharan Singh Brar announced Rs 1 lakh each in reward for anyone giving information leading to the arrest of the three.
Police are conducting raids at the possible hideouts of the three. Police cordoned off Jai Singh Wala village on Thursday evening and detained father of Kulwinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh.
A murder case has been registered against the three at Maur police station on the complaint of constable Tirlochan Singh.