Police and CBI clueless as targeted killings continue in Punjab

Modus operandi in eight such killings of religious or right-wing leaders in less than 2 years has remained similar.

punjab Updated: Oct 17, 2017 22:37 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
RSS leader killed,Ludhiana RSS leader,Punjab police
A police officer interacting with the family members of local RSS leader Ravinder Gosai who was shot dead in Ludhiana on Tuesday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Yet another targeted killing in Punjab — that of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) local leader Ravinder Gosai in Ludhiana on Tuesday — has reignited questions over competence of the state police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who are jointly probing previous such cases and have failed to get any clue. This, even as the modus operandi in the killings of eight religious or right-wing leaders in less than two years has remained similar and apparently linked.

The series began during the SAD-BJP regime, which went out of power in March, with four Hindu right-wing leaders killed. In all of these, two bike-borne assailants shot the target from a close range and disappeared. The one who survived such an attack was RSS leader Naresh Kumar in Ludhiana when he was shot at in February last year. RSS is the parent body of the BJP.

Gosai’s killing is the second such during Congress reign and poses a challenge for the government led by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who had attacked the SAD-BJP over the issue when in opposition. The first such case in Congress reign was witnessed on July 15, in which a pastor of a local church, Sultan Masih, in Ludhiana was shot dead. Even as this case was not officially handed over to the CBI, the state police claim to have got enough evidence that this killing was also committed by the same gang, suspected to be composed of pro-Khalistan Sikh radical activists.

Not even in one case have the investigators been able to trace the route of the killers. A CBI team led by a DSP-rank officer is camping in Jalandhar since the killing of RSS state unit vice-president Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd), a case which was handed over to it in August last year.

Meanwhile, BJP and RSS workers, who remained peaceful even after Gagneja was killed, have declared to up the ante against the state government now that the Congress is in power. Sources told HT that a coordination committee of the RSS and BJP is meeting “in a day or two” to decide the course of agitation.

Former BJP minister Manoranjan Kalia commented, “Assailants continue to kill people and the situation is going from bad to worse. It’s a serious concern that our police are clueless. This is a big threat to all residents.”

First Published: Oct 17, 2017 22:36 IST