Random firing by a group of drunken youths during jago celebrations on Monday night killed a 22-year-old youth at Kothe Jattan village, 20 kilometres from here.
The victim has been identified as Maninder Singh. The Hariana police have registered a murder case against 19 persons, including two brothers of the would-be bride.
Maninder and his father Jagir Singh had gone to the function hosted by Jaswinder Singh ahead of the marriage of the latter’s daughter.
The incident occurred when Maninder’s father left for home. The drunken youths who allegedly were carrying arms started firing in the air. One of the bullets hit Maninder in the chest and he fell on the ground. He was rushed to the Hariana civil hospital but was declared brought dead. The accused managed to flee before the police reached the spot.
A broken-hearted Jagir Singh revealed that his son had done an ITI course and was planning to go to the US in search of a job.
The police identified 17 persons, including host’s two sons Gurpreet Singh and Ajit Pal Singh. Both were taken in custody, though it was not confirmed officially. Two unidentified persons were also named in the first information report (FIR) registered under section 302 of IPC and Arms Act.
Host Jaswinder Singh, however, said that he had not invited any anti-social elements to the function. “In villages, it is common to take along their acquaintances to the weddings. The accused might have accompanied the invitees,” he claimed.
Eyewitnesses said the armed youths brazenly displayed their weapons and resorted to unruly behaviour. One of them said that gunshots were fired like firecrackers.
The police have seized the video recording of the function. They questioned the photographer also. Sources said some women from the host family were also rounded up but the police officials denied it.
Superintendent of police (investigation) Rajinder Singh said, “All the accused are at large. We are conducting raids to nab them.”
SSP Raj Jit Singh also visited the spot. “It has not yet been established as how many persons were carrying arms. The investigations are on and truth will soon be out. One person did fire the bullet which killed the youth but it is yet to be verified whether it was a licensed weapon or not. Use of unlicensed arms by anti-social elements will not be allowed,” said the SSP.
?The doctors, who conducted the post-mortem at the civil hospital, informed that the bullet recovered from the body had been handed over to the police.
Villagers rued that despite recurring incidents of firing at weddings, police were not tightening the noose around trigger-happy baraatis. “Carrying of arms to social functions should be strictly banned,” demanded Davinder Singh, a distant relative of the deceased.
“A few moments of joy can kill someone’s happiness forever,” he added.