A group of four unidentified men fired shots outside VMS College here on Friday. The college is owned by Congress MLA Ashwani Sekhri.
Two of them, brandishing revolvers, fired in the air, while another, who had a .315-bore rifle, first fired at a college bus parked outside the campus and then at an Innova nearby.
Talking to HT, gatekeeper Harjeet Singh stated that around 10am, when he was present at the main gate, two armed men arrived in an I-20 car and told him that they were against elections in the college as they wanted their man to remain the student union president.
“As I stopped them from entering the college with firearms, they started firing in the air. Within a few minutes, two more men came in a Maruti Swift car and one of them fired at a college bus. After firing almost a dozen bullets, they sped away in the two cars towards Amritsar,” Harjeet added.
Talking to mediapersons, inspector general (IG, border range) Ishwar Chander, who rushed to the spot from Amritsar, said “According to a preliminary investigation, there is a dispute between students over the top post of the union. The miscreants, who were supporting a particular person, opened fire in an attempt to create terror. We have send the CCTV camera footage to the Gurdaspur and Amritsar police. Police teams have been sent to various areas,” the IG added.
Batala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Inderbir Singh was not available for comment despite repeated attempts to contact him. Superintendent of police (SP, investigation) Amrik Singh Powar stated that on the basis of the complaint, a case had been registered under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 506 (criminal intimidation), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon) and 149 (offence committed by any member of an unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms act against four men.
The SP added that the accused were suspected to be members of criminal Sukhwinder Singh Lala’s gang.
A large posse of police personnel has been deployed round the town. It is learnt that the SP is handling the case and a special investigation team (SIT) has been formed to trace the culprits.
Condemning the incident, Ashwani Sekhri blamed the Batala police for failing to maintain law and order in the town. He alleged that robberies and murders were on the rise in Batala, but the local police had failed to solve many cases.