Pastor’s murder in Ludhiana: Christians lay siege to NH 1
A day after a pastor, Sultan Masih, was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne men, members of the Christian community blocked traffic on the Jalandhar Bypass Chowk on National Highway (NH) 1 for five hours, demanding the arrest of the killers.
Commuters were a harried lot as hundreds of vehicles remained stuck in the jam, forcing the police to divert the traffic to other routes, but the effort went in vain, even as the commuters’ ordeal continued for hours.
The protesters laid siege to the NH-1 at 10:30 AM, raising slogans against the police accusing it of inaction. Passengers of buses were deboarded 2 km away from the protest spot, forcing them to walk kilometres to reach their destination.
It was only after police commissioner RN Dhoke reached the spot and pacified the protesters that the demonstration was lifted around 3:30 PM.
Masih, 50, was talking on the phone outside The Temple of God church in Peeru Banda Mohalla of Salem Tabri on Saturday night when the two masked men pumped in three bullets in his body, before fleeing the scene.
Passers-by rushed him to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) where he succumbed to his injuries.
Masih is survived by wife Sarbjit, son Ali Shah, 26, and daughter Hanok, 18. The family lives on the first floor of the church’s building.
MLAs MEET CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Four MLAs Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Surinder Dawar, Sanjay Talwar and Kuldeep Singh Vaid met members of the Christian community on Sunday to condole the pastor’s death.
Punjab State Minority Commission chairman Munavvar Masih, senior vice-chairman Sanjiv Jain, commission members Abdul Shakur Mangat and Yakub Masih, Christian United Federation president Albert Dua, commissioner of police RN Dhoke and additional deputy commissioner (ADC, Khanna) Ajay Sood were present at the meeting.
Albert appealed to the community members to withdraw the protest, stating that the police were investigating the case and had assured of arresting the accused soon.
MLA Dawar said the government will not allow wrongdoers to disturb the peace and harmony of the state.