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Punjab DSP shoots himself during students’ protest, dies

The DSP had gone to the college to resolve an issue between students and the local police.

punjab Updated: Jan 29, 2018 22:31 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
Gagandeep Jassowal
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
Punjab Police,Punjab Police DSP,student protest
Deputy superintendent of police Baljinder Singh Sandhu (File )

Punjab Police deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Baljinder Singh Sandhu, 50, committed suicide by shooting himself with his licensed weapon during a students’ protest at a constituent college of Punjabi University in Jaitu, 35km from Faridkot, on Monday.

A constable, Lal Singh, was critically injured as the bullet hit him after piercing through the DSP’s head. The DSP and cop were rushed to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, where doctors declared Sandhu dead, while Lal Singh’s condition is stated to be critical.

The DSP had gone to the college to resolve an issue between students and the local police. The students were protesting against “moral policing” by Jaitu station house officer (SHO) Gurmeet Singh who had allegedly detaining three college students, including a girl.

Video of the incident, which went viral, showed the DSP pointing his pistol at his own head and saying “I will shoot”. Within seconds, a gunshot was heard and Sandhu fell to the ground. In the video, shot just before the gunshot was heard, a student leader is seen making a speech amid slogans of “azadi”.

College principal Inderjit Kaur said police detained their three students, two boys of BCom second year and a girl of BCom first year, who were waiting for a bus on January 12. “The students missed two buses and the SHO started questioning them. He later took them the police station,” said Kaur. A complaint was filed against the SHO with the Faridkot senior superintendent of police, she added.

“On January 27, the DSP called the students to the Jaitu police station to resolve the issue, but the SHO didn’t turn up following which the students started their protest,” said the principal.

Deputy inspector general Rajinder Singh said two groups were fighting on the college campus. While the Left-backed students were protesting against the “moral policing”, the other group was supporting the cops. The DSP shot himself after one of the groups questioned his integrity, he said.

Faridkot senior superintendent of police Nanak Singh said a case under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) has been registered against unidentified protesters.

Sandhu, a native of Patiala, joined the police force in 1993 as an assistant sub-inspector. He is survived by his parents, wife and a 21-year-old son who is studying in Canada.

(Story has been updated)

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 14:38 IST