Gagandeep Singh could well have been on his way to New Zealand early next year to represent India in the under-19 cricket World Cup. The world lay ahead --- but for a decision to eat kebabs instead of bland hotel food.
The 18-year-old left arm spinner from Kanpur was shot dead in Meerut on Friday night. Gagandeep was caught in the middle of a fatal shootout at a restaurant where he and two teammates from an Uttar Pradesh under-22 camp for the CK Nayudu Trophy, Ankit Pal and Ankit Tewari, had gone for a dinner of kebabs.
They were waiting for dinner to be served when, around 11:30 pm, a man called Rahul Chaudhary picked a fight with the restaurant's owner. Chaudhary left in a huff, returned shortly with three others and then opened fire indiscriminately. Gagandeep and the owner were both hit by the hail of bullets and died on the spot.
“Gagandeep told Ankit that he had been hit in the chest and died before he could say anything else,” said U-22 coach Moosi Raza. Additional Director General of Police (UP West), A.K. Jain, told HT that four miscreants, including Chaudhury, had been arrested.
Gagandeep's family was rushed to Meerut immediately after the incident and a post-mortem was done on Saturday afternoon. His body was expected to reach his hometown, Kanpur, late on Saturday.
The UP Cricket Association condemned the teenager's unfortunate death and have announced a sum of Rs 5 lakh for the bereaved family. Gagandeep was the son of a Kanpur-based truck driver.