Anger against police and the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) over the murder of Kulwinder Singh (16) outside a restaurant in Khanna on Sunday spilled on the streets here on Monday.
The victim's relatives blocked traffic on the national highway in Ludhiana to build pressure on police to arrest the accused, including district YAD (rural) president Yadwinder Singh Yadu. For at least three hours, they kept the body on road, as local people also joined the protest.
Assurance from Khanna's senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sushil Kumar about a manhunt in progress for the accused ended the blockade. The condition of the second target in the firing incident, Yadu's rival Amrinder Singh, remains critical at SPS Apollo Hospital here.
Based on the survivor's statement, the Khanna police have lodged a case of murder, attempted murder, and Arms Act violation against Yadu; Manjit Singh of Nava Pind (Khanna); sarpanch Jatinder Singh of Kaudi village; Gora; Sonu of Seh village; Golminhas, Amarjit Singh, Dhann, Mani, and another accused.
Sitting inside an SUV (sports utility vehicle), Kulwinder Singh and Amrinder Singh, had taken a hail of bullets that killed the boy on the spot and hit the latter in the chest. The Punjab and Haryana high court had placed accused Yadu under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into a land fraud at Mandi Khurd village in Bathinda district.
"Yadu got the land for almost Rs 2crore, and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia arranged for the government to acquire it within 48 hours for Rs 9 crore, giving Yadu a neat profit of Rs 7 crore," Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said here on Monday. He asked chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to disband the YAD and ban its sticker on vehicles, as "it is a licence to kill, loot, and commit other crimes."
Cong targets 'Majithia gang'
The Congress leaders who have hounded cabinet minister Bikram Majithia over his alleged drug links now have another reason to go after him.
The state unit of the party on Monday condemned the murder of a boy in indiscriminate firing in Khanna. State party vice-presidents Randeep Singh Nabha and colonel CD Singh Kamboj (retd); and general secretaries Gurkirat Singh Kotli and Surinder Kumar Dawar said accused Yadu was close to the revenue minister.
"The way his group escaped brandishing firearms and challenging police after the murder shows the criminal mindset of the Akali leaders," reads a statement from the Punjab Congress.
The leaders said anybody who dared to resist the lawless Akalis would face bullets, and it was not the first time when members of the YAD, of which Majithia was president, were accused of killing people. "The chief minister has turned a blind eye to the activities of the Majithia gang," reads the statement.