Pastor’s murder in Ludhiana: Christians lay siege to NH 1
Protesters hold traffic on busy Jalandhar Bypass Chowk to ransom demanding arrest of the killerspunjab Updated: Jul 17, 2017 11:50 IST
A day after a pastor, Sultan Masih, was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne men, members of the Christian community blocked traffic on the Jalandhar Bypass Chowk on National Highway (NH) 1 for five hours, demanding the arrest of the killers.
Commuters were a harried lot as hundreds of vehicles remained stuck in the jam, forcing the police to divert the traffic to other routes, but the effort went in vain, even as the commuters’ ordeal continued for hours.
The protesters laid siege to the NH-1 at 10:30 AM, raising slogans against the police accusing it of inaction. Passengers of buses were deboarded 2 km away from the protest spot, forcing them to walk kilometres to reach their destination.
It was only after police commissioner RN Dhoke reached the spot and pacified the protesters that the demonstration was lifted around 3:30 PM.
Masih, 50, was talking on the phone outside The Temple of God church in Peeru Banda Mohalla of Salem Tabri on Saturday night when the two masked men pumped in three bullets in his body, before fleeing the scene.
Passers-by rushed him to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) where he succumbed to his injuries.
Masih is survived by wife Sarbjit, son Ali Shah, 26, and daughter Hanok, 18. The family lives on the first floor of the church’s building.
- The police have procured CCTV footage that reveals the terrifying moment the pastor was shot dead. The footage shows Sultan Masih (in picture) talking on the phone on the road outside the church on Saturday night.
- Two men on a motorcycle halt besides him, fire three shots at Masih from point-blank range before fleeing the scene. However, the CCTV footage has proved to be of little help to the police, as the faces of accused are not visible.
- The police recovered three shells from the spot, with sources saying the shells were from different weapons. Police commissioner RN Dhoke said police were investigating the case from all angles.
- The modus operandi of the assailants is akin to the killers of Hindu outfit leader Amit Sharma, who was gunned down by two motorcycle-borne men outside Shri Durga Mata Mandir, near Jagraon Bridge, on January 14.
- The case remains unsolved. Dera Sacha Sauda followers Satpal Kumar, 65, and his son Ramesh Kumar, 35, were also gunned down in a similar manner on February 25.
- The double murder is also unsolved. In another such crime, senior RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja was shot at in Jalandhar. He died later at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in Ludhiana.
MLAs MEET CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Four MLAs Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Surinder Dawar, Sanjay Talwar and Kuldeep Singh Vaid met members of the Christian community on Sunday to condole the pastor’s death.
Punjab State Minority Commission chairman Munavvar Masih, senior vice-chairman Sanjiv Jain, commission members Abdul Shakur Mangat and Yakub Masih, Christian United Federation president Albert Dua, commissioner of police RN Dhoke and additional deputy commissioner (ADC, Khanna) Ajay Sood were present at the meeting.
Albert appealed to the community members to withdraw the protest, stating that the police were investigating the case and had assured of arresting the accused soon.
MLA Dawar said the government will not allow wrongdoers to disturb the peace and harmony of the state.