Police on Sunday ruled out personal enmity behind the killing of Dera Sacha Sauda followers Satpal Kumar and his son Ramesh Kumar, who were shot dead by unidentified assailants at Jagera village, 40 km from here, on Saturday.
However, local police officials do not subscribe to the theory that the crime was an offshoot of the ongoing conflict between the dera and Sikh radicals.
Meanwhile, the police investigation suggested that the father-son duo was not specifically on the target of assailants, who wanted to kill any dera followers to create panic among them.
The police have not got any clue about the attackers and are still groping in the dark.
Khanna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Satinder Singh said, “It is too early to say anything about the case as it is a sensitive matter. Various teams have been formed to trace the accused and CCTV footage is being closely examined. We are investigating the case from all angles.”
He added, “Our main concern for the time being is that the cremation of the deceased is carried out peacefully and the law and order is maintained.”
The SSP said, “The killers who were probably two in number turned up on a Hero ‘Splendor’ motorcycle from Malerkotla side. After raining bullets at the father-son duo, they rushed towards Ludhiana.”
“The assailants were wearing woollen caps and had covered their faces with pieces of cloth. The police have been scanning CCTVs installed at the road to trace the accused. The killers used .32 bore pistols in the crime. They pumped in three bullets in Ramesh’s head and two in Saptal’s. The police found shells from the spot,” he added.
Notably, no one had any information about the killing till the family members turned up at the dera canteen at 9.30 pm after Satpal and Ramesh did not answer their repeated calls. They raised alarm after finding the two of them dead.
The SSP said Satpal and Ramesh belonged to a middle-class family. “The police talked to their neighbours at Ahmedgarh town where they lived and were told that the family had no enmity with anyone,” he added.
He said the CCTV footage shows that the two assailants barged into the shop at around 7.30pm and gunned down Ramesh who was standing near the door. After killing him, the assailants shot dead Satpal, who was sitting on the counter of the canteen.
“After the crime, the assailants stared at the CCTV camera installed in the canteen and uttered some words. One of them opened fire in the air before leaving,” he added.
‘VICTIMS STAYED BACK TO WATCH TV’
Dera followers said Satpal and Ramesh have been taking care of the dera canteen for the past two months. The dera holds ‘satsang’ on every Friday, but followers come there daily for ‘naam charcha’. The followers leave the centre at around 6.30pm. On Saturday, all followers, except Satpal and Ramesh, left the centre around the same time while the duo stayed back in the canteen to watch some programme on the television. They were about to leave for their home when the assailants struck there, the followers said.