The tense town of Abohar in Punjab limped back to normality after three days of disquiet triggered by the brutal murder of a man at liqour baron and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Shiv Lal Doda’s farmhouse.
Markets opened on Sunday, although Doda’s liquor shops remained closed and heavy police deployment was seen in and around his business establishments and houses.
Doda, nephew Amit and five accomplices were yet to be taken into custody despite police registering a case against them on Saturday for the murder of 27-year-old former employee Bhim Tank, whose arms and legs were chopped off the previous day and he bled to death in an Amritsar hospital.
Bhim’s friend Gurjant aka Janta Lahoria suffered a similar fate and is now battling for life in hospital.
The National Scheduled Castes Commission had asked police to nab the suspects in three days but people alleged that the administration was going slow because of Doda’s political connections.
Doda, whose liquor business is spread over Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, is said to have hosted parties for deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at the farmhouse in the past.
Angry people had torched three liquor shops owned by Doda after the brutal attack and a curfew-like situation prevailed in the town until Sunday’s prayer meeting for Bhim, who belonged to a backward community. A large number of mourners gathered at the prayer meet.
Sources said Bhim and his friend were attacked with sharp weapons during a meeting at the liquor baron’s farmhouse in Ramsara village on Friday morning where the duo had gone to settle a dispute with Harry, another employee of Doda, over a sexual abuse case.
But the meeting turned ugly and soon developed into a full-blown clash. The two victims were grossly outnumbered and their limbs chopped off.
Bhim’s family and villagers blamed Doda’s nephew Amit, who manages the liquor business, for the murder.
Abohar superintendent of police Harjit Singh confirmed the clash but Amit denied the charges, saying he was out of town when the incident occurred.
Reports on Bhim’s criminal history have also come out after his death. He apparently had 15 FIRs registered against him while a woman on December 2 accused him of rape, a case for which the meeting was called at Doda’s farmhouse.