The firing and violent incidents during the February 4 polls in the state are giving sleepless nights to the police as even after they claimed to have made unprecedented security arrangements to ensure peace in the sensitive border district during elections, it failed to prevent the three major violent incidents in Tarn Taran.
Majority of the accused of the incidents in Tarn Taran and Patti are still at large while the cops are frantically searching for them.
The violence at Lalu Ghuman village and Palasaur involved firearms including rifles and revolvers in large quantity. Subsequently, the question arises that how did the attackers manage to keep firearms in large numbers when the poll code of conduct was in force and the Election Commission had issued strict orders of surrendering all firearms whether licensed or not. The station house officers were also directed to ensure the implementation of the orders.
When contacted, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harjit Singh said they found it difficult to prevent such incidents as they did not have full record of the firearms registered in arms branch of the deputy commissioner’s office.
He said, “There are 21,000 firearms as per the official record and we ensured all these weapons were deposited as per EC directions. However, we do not have the details of those weapons, whose record were gutted in the arms branch last year.”
“The firearms used by the accused in poll-related incidents may have been from the record that was burnt in the said fire. Still, we are investigating the matter through this angle,” he added.
On February 6, around 10 assailants with arms, who were aides of former Akali sarpanch, had allegedly stormed into the house of a Dalit family at Palasaur village and killed 32-yearold Surjit Singh while his brother was injured. The attackers reportedly held a grudge against the Dalit family, also supporters of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), after an altercation during an election meeting on January 29.
At Lalu Ghuman village, scores of armed attackers led by Akali sarpanch opened fire at Congress workers and injured one.
When asked about the increase in crime incidents, the SSP said the violent incidents were a result of the sudden pollrelated disputes and personal grudges.