A station house officer (SHO) was suspended after 12 people were injured in a clash between two groups of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) at Rupian Wala village, near Sadak town, in this district on Friday night.One group is supported by Faridkot MLA Deep Malhotra while the other is supported by a senior youth leader.
Indiscriminate firing was allegedly opened by one Balraj Singh of the group of the youth leader. According to sources, two candidates are contesting for the sarpanch seat in the village reserved for the scheduled caste women. Swarnjeet Kaur is supported by the Malhotra group while Charnjeet Kaur is supported by the group of the youth leader."
Sukhdev Singh, 52, who claimed to have received a bullet injury in his thigh and is admitted to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, claimed, "We were out canvassing and as we were walking past the camp of the rival group, led by Balraj Singh, Balraj fired from a pistol and two members of our group -- Ravi, a youth, and his father Pinder Singh -- got seriously injured. They have been admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana."
He said, "Jagjit Singh, another youth from our group, also got a bullet injury besides an injury from a sharp-edged weapon. The husband of the candidate supported by us was also injured. Seven people of our group have been injured. The others have been admitted to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot."
Besides the seven people supported by the Malhotra group, five people from the other group have also received injuries. Sources said Balraj was later caught and beaten up by the other group.Sukhdev said, "The accused, who is our neighbour, on Thursday had warned my son Sandeep Singh against venturing out on ro their street. We complained to the Sadak police on Friday, but no action was taken."
He said, "We had deposited all our weapons with the police before the zila parishad and block samiti elections and had not taken them back. We wonder how come the accused had a pistol."The victims also alleged that the police reached the spot late.
When contacted, SSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa said he suspended SHO Balwinder Singh Bassi immediately after the incident. He admitted that the police reached the spot late.
"The SHO has been sent to police lines and a departmental inquiry will be initiated against him," Randhawa said.
Bassi was also suspended last year when he was the SHO of the city police station, Faridkot. This is the second time that the SHO has been suspended in less than a year.The SSP said, "The police have registered a case against seven people, including Balraj Singh, under section 307 (attempt to murder) besides other sections of the IPC on the complaint of the victims. Another case under section 324 of the IPC has been registered against five people on the complaint of the second party."
Around 85% villagers had deposited their arms with the police and the rest would do so in the next few days," the SSP added.Meanwhile, Malhotra, who visited the injured in the hospital, said nobody would be allowed to take law into their own hands. The accused would be brought to book, he added.