A 22-year-old youth was on Monday shot dead by police "without provocation" when he was returning from a party in the wee hours in Bhiwani on Monday, his family alleged, but police claimed it was a case of accidental firing.
The main accused, constable Karmbir has been arrested and a case registered against seven other personnel of Hisar's Hansi police, Superintendent of Police, Bhiwani, Sanjay Singh said as the killing of Kuldeep, a student of Vaish College in Bhiwani, sparked violent protests in the area with mobs damaging police vehicles.
A magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident, District Magistrate Satya Prakash said.
Kuldeep's brother Vikas, who along with another friend was with the victim when the incident took place, alleged that they were proceeding towards their house on a motorcycle when a police van suddenly stopped them.
One among the personnel, some of whom were in plain clothes, fired a shot "from point blank range" at Kuldeep "without provocation", he alleged. He said after the firing, the police inquired about their whereabouts. Kuldeep fell from the bike and died on the spot, he claimed, adding the police team fled from the site.
Hukam Singh, who was also travelling with the two brothers, alleged that the policemen were in an inebriated state and manhandled them before firing at Kuldeep.
However, Hisar Superintend of Police Anil Kumar Rao said, "it is a case of accidental fire and not an encounter." The constable's gun went off accidentally as the "the condition of the road was not good", he claimed.
Rao said that police had stopped the youths as it had information that one Dara Singh, a prime suspect in a robbery case of Rs 2.16 lakh in Sorkhi village in May, was in Bhiwani.
When the police signalled the motorcycle to stop at midnight, the youths tried to flee.
Sub-divisional magistrate Bhiwani Shiv Prasad Sharma has been asked to probe the killing which triggered tension in the area with angry students of different colleges and schools taking to streets to protest the incident.
They forcibly pulled down shutters of shops and shouted anti-government slogans. They also tried to disrupt classes in educational institutions.
A mob gathered near Ghantaghar Chowk adjacent to the civil hospital where Kuldeep's body was kept, and set ablaze a police motorcycle and damaged another vehicle, prompting police to use batons to disperse the protesters.
Additional police contingents have been deployed in the affected areas while Hansi Chowk has been sealed.
Former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal visited the residence of the victim in the Dabra colony here and demanded strict action against the guilty.
Meanwhile, Kuldeep's father Satpal refused to accept any compensation, including Rs two lakh announced by the local administration.
"I only want my son back," the grieving father said.