Vice-president of the Punjab unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (retd), who was shot at in Jalandhar on Saturday, was shifted to Hero DMC Heart Institute in Ludhiana on Sunday afternoon in a critical condition and was put on a ventilator.
Gagneja, who was shot thrice in the abdomen near the busy Jyoti Chowk in Jalandhar, still has one bullet in his liver while two bullets were removed by a joint team of surgeons of the DMC Heart Institute and Patel Hospital in Jalandhar on Sunday morning.
Chief cardiologist of the institute Gurpreet Singh Wander said Gagneja had been put on ventilator and inotropes (medicines that change the force of heart’s contractions). A team of intensivists and surgeons from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, and DMC Heart Institute are constantly monitoring his condition,” an official statement from the heart institute read.
Doctors say a surgery will be performed to remove the bullet from Gagneja’s liver once his condition stabilises.
Meanwhile, tight security arrangements were in place in and around the hospitals in Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
Punjab Police earlier set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the attack on Gagneja, a former senior army officer. The right-wing leader was shot at by two masked assailants as he got out of his car he was travelling in with his wife. The assailants fled the spot after firing. They also fired in the air to scare onlookers. Jalandhar commissioner of police Arpit Shukla said they have got vital leads in the case but no arrest had been made so far.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was in touch with the hospital authorities in Ludhaina. State police chief Suresh Arora, Ludhiana deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat and police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh, besides political leaders, including chief parliamentary secretary Navjot Kaur Sidhu, former cabinet minister Satpal Gosain and district BJP chief Ravinder Arora visited the hospital to enquire about Gagneja’s health.
Condemning the attack, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal directed the police to track the attackers. He said the attack was aimed at disturbing the communal harmony in the state.
The police are strengthening security around offices of right-wing organisations in Punjab. Some leaders of the RSS and Shiv Sena have already been provided security.
Meanwhile, chief parliamentary secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu alleged that the attack on Gagneja was state-sponsored and should be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). “We have lost faith in Punjab Police as they have failed in maintaining law and order,” said Dr Sidhu.