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Arrested accused followers of Damdami Taksal: Villagers

punjab Updated: May 22, 2016 10:53 IST
Aneesha Sareen
Damdami Taksal

Accused Gagandeep’s house at Chhandran village in Sahnewal.(JS Grewal/HT Photo)

An eerie silence prevailed outside the house of Gagandeep Singh, who is allegedly involved in the murderous attack on Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale, at Chhandran village in Sahnewal. His father Major Singh, who runs cement shop in the village, breaks down when asked about his son. The family, shell-shocked after the arrest of their son, refuses to make any comment.

“Our son is innocent and has been falsely framed,” said Gagandeep’s father.

The neighbours, however, narrate a different story. Arrested by the police two days ago as one of the eight accused involved in the attack on Dhadrianwale that left his follower dead, Gagandeep had gone to Ludhiana with his cousin Jaspreet on May 17 evening, telling his family they are going to hold a “chhabeel” in Ludhiana with their friends, reveal neighbours. Both Jaspreet and Gagandeep are now behind bars for their involvement in the attack.

“Both had left home saying “Mumbai wala chhabeel laga raha (Their cousin in Mumbai is organising the chhabeel). The family is an ardent follower of Damdami Taksal head Harnam Singh Dhumma and had been visiting the “dera” in Amritsar quiet often,” said one of the neighbours, requesting anonymity.

It was at this “chhabeel” on the Barewal road in Ludhiana that Dhadrianwale was asked to stop and then attacked.

Police sources said hunt was on to nab Jaspreet’s cousin in Mumbai, the alleged mastermind who arranged all the men who executed the attack.

‘Accused has criminal background’

The residence of Manveer Singh, the third accused arrested from Ludhiana, in Hissowal village is locked for the past many years.

His father, Jagdev Singh, left the village 15 years ago and is a known criminal is serving a jail term.

“His father had links with terrorists and later he took to drug smuggling. Manveer’s house is locked for the past many years,” said village sarpanch Iqbal Singh. Manveer’s mother committed suicide some years ago after she caught her husband cheating on her.

The accused, who is a “mahant” comes to the village rarely. “I cannot even recognise him if he comes in front of me,” added the sarpanch.