Two motorcycleborne assailants shot at the Punjab vice-president of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (retd), leaving him seriously injured in the heart of Jalandhar just after 8pm on Saturday. By 11pm, two of the three bullets had been removed at the local Patel Hospital, and he was stated to be stable, doctors said.
Brigadier Gagneja is a wellknown face of the RSS in Punjab. As seh-prant sanghchalak, he coordinated between the Punjab BJP, RSS and central leadership for all organisational and government affairs.
The RSS leader, who was accompanied by his wife Sudesh, was shot at when he was returning after shopping at Red Cross Market.
He stopped his Maruti Swift car to answer the call of nature a few metres from his car when the two men with faces covered also brought their motorcycle to a halt and shot at him. They were apparently following the RSS leader.
According to eyewitnesses, the attackers fired three bullets that hit Brigadier Gagneja in the chest and stomach. The youth fled after firing in the air, triggering panic the busy market. They managed to flee despite the crowd and police nakas (checkpoints) in place.
RSS and top state BJP leaders reached the hospital soon after. Additional police force was rushed when former minister and Jalandhar Central MLA Manoranjan Kalia rang up state DGP Suresh Arora.
Police commissioner Arpit Shukla said efforts were on to arrest the attackers. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal have condemned the attack on the state RSS vicepresident.
GOVT CONSTITUTES SIT
Following Sukhbir’s directions, DGP Suresh Arora has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) under the leadership of IPS Sahota, ADGP-cumdirector, Bureau of Investigation to investigate the attack on the RSS leader. A Punjab Police spokesman said other members of the team are commissioner of police Arpit Shukla, IGP Nilabh Kishore and AIG Amarjit Singh Bajwa.
Condemning the attack, state BJP chief Vijay Sampla appealed to the people of Punjab and party workers to maintain peace and harmony.He also called an emergency meeting of the core group of the party on August 7 at Jalandhar.
The party has cancelled a meeting of new office-bearers and MLAs scheduled to be held on Sunday in Ludhiana.
State Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh has also condemned the attack on Gagneja. Such attacks don’t portend well for Punjab. Such nefarious designs deserve to be nipped in the bud lest these push the state into anarchy,” he said.
Attacks in Punjab in 2016
Jan 18 Two unidentified assailants try to kill RSS volunteer in Ludhiana.
April 4 Chand Kaur, 88, wife of former head of the Namdhari sect, was shot dead by two assailants at Bhaini Sahib near Ludhiana.
April 23 Two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants gun down Punjab Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta at Khanna.
May 17 Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale had a miraculous escape when a group of heavily armed Sikh youth sprayed bullets at his car that left his follower dead
May 21 Unidentified assailants lynched a law student , Manpreet Singh in full public view at Hoshiarpur.