Mansa Dalit youth’s limb recovered, 3 accused held
The Mansa police on Wednesday evening claimed to have arrested three of the six persons accused of killing a Dalit youth at Gharagna village in the district on Mondaypunjab Updated: Oct 13, 2016 09:48 IST
The Mansa police on Wednesday evening claimed to have arrested three of the six persons accused of killing a Dalit youth at Gharagna village in the district on Monday.
The trio -- Balbir Singh, Hardeep Singh and Sadhu Singh -- along with Amandeep Singh, Babrik Singh and Sita Singh allegedly killed 20-year-old Sukhchain Singh, a petty liquor smuggler, and chopped off his left leg in a case of inter-gang rivalry, said Mansa senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mukhwinder Singh Bhullar. The six were booked for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code on Tuesday.
Cops, meanwhile, recovered the victim’s missing limb from a field in the village on Wednesday afternoon.
The incident kicked off a political storm in the state after the victim’s kin accused Rajya Sabha member Balwinder Singh Bhundar of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of protecting the accused. While Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich targeted the SAD on the issue, alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s state president Vijay Sampla instituted a party-level inquiry into the incidents of alleged atrocities against Dalits.
The victim’s mother, Karamjeet Kaur, alleged on Wednesday that the rival gang had planned the attack well in advance and also paid Rs 5 lakh to the police to go slow against them. “Akali MP Balwinder Singh Bhundar has been shielding these smugglers,” she said.
The family has been protesting at the civil hospital since Tuesday morning and denying the authorities to conduct the deceased’s autopsy till all the accused are arrested.
Congress state legislator Sunil Jakhar, who visited the family on Wednesday, accused the SAD-BJP government of patronising the liquor mafia in the state. “These liquor contractors have hired henchmen, who often attack and harass others,” he said, while demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Akali MP Bhundar, however, has denied the allegations levelled against him. “I am not in Mansa for the past couple of days, and I have no connection with any of the accused booked in this case,” he told HT.
Raj Kumar Verka, vice-chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, has assured legal assistance to the victim’s family. He said top state police officials have been asked to arrest all the suspects soon.
Police said the victim and his associates were involved in the sale of illegal liquor in his village, which infuriated the rival gang, which mostly comprises upper-caste landlords. “A day before his murder, Sukhchain and his friends had thrashed and abused one of the accused, Sita Singh, at Makha village. Miffed over this, the rival gang targeted and murdered him late on Monday evening,” said police.
Calling it a case of “business rivalry”, SSP Bhullar said: “The accused are not linked with any liquor contractor, and police are working without any political pressure. All the accused will be nabbed soon.”