The routine functioning at the Pathankot civil hospital remained suspended for the entire day on Tuesday when a large number of locals, including women of the Bajri Company locality, held a protest to seek arrest of people allegedly behind the death of a patwari, also a resident of the area.
Subash Chander, brother of deceased patwari Avinash Chander, told mediapersons that on June 3, Avinash had called up his wife Sunita and said two residents of nearby Majra village, identified as Yash Pal and Amarjeet, were pressuring him to transfer a piece of land in their name.
He said after some time, they were told that Avinash was lying in an injured condition on the GT Road while there were no signs that it was an accident.
Subash said they shifted Avinash to the Ludhiana hospital, where he died after remaining in coma for a month. The deceased's kin claimed that they insisted that there was some foul play in the case, but the local station house officer (SHO) paid no heed to their plea and neither took action against the suspects nor questioned them.
The protesters blocked the entrance to the hospital and tied a rope on the gate after the patwari died at Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, on Tuesday.
Pathankot senior superintendent of police (SSP) Surinder Kalia, local MLA and state BJP president Ashwani Sharma and other higher police officials failed to calm down the protesters, who, later, sat on the GT Road and blocked the Pathankot-Shahpur Kandi Road for about six hours.
Earlier, locals also raised slogans against Kanwa police station SHO Ashwani Kumar for allegedly shielding the culprits.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) (rural) Parbhjot Singh Virk told HT that police had registered a case under Section 307 of the IPC and investigations were on. "We had booked some people and were collecting evidence as there was no concrete proof to substantiate the allegations levelled by kin of the patwari."
He added that a case under Section 302 of the IPC had been registered against the suspects on the basis of the complaint and five police parties have been sent to arrest five suspects.
The protesters lifted the blockade in the evening after they were told that police have arrested one person and would arrest others soon. Meanwhile, owing to the protest, patients could not enter the hospital for the entire day.