As senior RSS leader Brigadier (retd) Jagdish Gagneja breathed his last in Ludhiana on Thursday after being shot at by two bike-borne assailants in August, many leaders thronged the Hero DMC Heart Institute to pay tributes.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, in a statement issued here, said: “It’s a huge loss to the state and the country. Punjab has lost a forceful voice which articulated the concerns of the state and its people while remaining selflessly away from pubic glare and shunning personal glory.”
All his life, he served the nation in the true traditions of a soldier, maintaining a low profile even while contributing in a most significant way to the welfare of Punjab and Punjabis, he said.
“We have lost a great champion of Hindu-Sikh unity and communal harmony but the ideals to which he devoted his life would be upheld by the people,” he said.
The self-effacing and humble manner in which he took up Punjab’s causes at various national forums will serve as an example to those who place the interests of the state above their own, said the CM in his condolence message.
Badal’s advisor on national affairs Harcharan Bains told reporters that the CM is away to Patna to participate in the International Sikh Conference to mark the 350th Parkash Utsav of Guru Gobind Singh and will visit the bereaved family on his return.
In a statement, Badal said the attack on Gagneja was an attempt to disturb the hard-earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state for which he worked hard all his life.
“But the designs of those who committed this heinous crime will never be allowed to succeed,” he said.
The chief minister appealed to the people of Punjab to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state at all costs. “This will be the best and the greatest tribute to the departed leader,” said Badal.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also condoled the death of Gagneja. He tweeted:
I join Punjabis in mourning the demise of RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja who has fallen victim to anti-national forces bent on disturbing peace— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) September 22, 2016
Brig Gagneja fought like a true soldier till the end. Let us pledge that we will not allow his sacrifice to go waste.— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) September 22, 2016
Former Aam Aadmi Party state convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur also tweeted “(I) condole the death of RSS leader Brig Jagdish Gagneja.” He further said there was no law and order in the state and the government had proved to be “complete failure”.
Former PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa tweeted:
My deepest condolences to the family of senior RSS leader Brig (retd) Jagdish Gagneja.May the departed soul rest in peace.— Partap Singh Bajwa (@Partap_Sbajwa) September 22, 2016
Finance minister Arun Jaitley tweeted
Condolences on the sad demise of Prant Sah-sarsanghchalak Brigadier (Retd) Jagdish Gagneja ji. May God render peace to the departed soul.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) September 22, 2016
While many senior RSS and BJP leaders, including Phul Chand Jain, Anil Sarin, commissioner of police Jatinder Singh Aulakh and Ludhiana district’s additional deputy commissioner Rishi Pal had reached the hospital in the morning, Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore also reached by the afternoon.
Gagneja will be cremated in Jalandhar on Thursday evening.