Punjab: Hindu outfit leader shot in Amritsar, fifth murder in 2 years
This is the fifth such murder of Hindu outfit leaders, and the ninth overall of any religious or religio-political leader, in the last two years in Punjab.
Exactly 13 days after the killing of a local leader of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in Ludhiana, another Hindu right-wing activist, Vipan Sharma, 45, was shot dead in broad daylight in Bharat Nagar locality of the city on Monday.
This is the fifth such murder of Hindu outfit leaders, and the ninth overall of any religious or religio-political leader, in the last two years in Punjab. It is also the third such killing in the tenure of the Congress regime under Captain Amarinder Singh that took power in March. Police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have remained clueless so far, and the probe into RSS leader Ravinder Gosain’s October 17 killing has even been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Preet Nagar resident Sharma, who was district president of Hindu Sangharsh Sena and ran a cable TV business, was shot seven times by two unidentified young men around 2pm, shows footage from a security camera.
Police did not commit to any theory immediately. “Multiple theories are coming out in the primary investigation. The possibility of personal enmity due to his business operations can’t be ruled out too,” said additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP)-1, Charanjit Singh.
In the footage, Sharma is seen talking to multiple people on the street and then getting ready to get onto a bike with someone. He had come to the locality to meet friend Ramesh Kumar Monu, who is state president of the outfit and managed to escape as only Sharma was targeted. Sources said police are working on whether Monu was the target, and why he was spared despite being state chief of the same outfit.
The two killers, shows the footage, came out of a street and apparently abused Sharma before firing. Sharma fell to the ground when one of the two masked men — whose face cover then came off — shot him on his upper body. Sharma was rushed to a local hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Police believe two other men accompanied the killers and took them away on bikes. They were seen in footage from another camera near the spot, sources said. Senior officers, including commissioner SS Shrivastva, visited the spot. Police registered a case under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code at the sadar police station.
Meanwhile, state BJP chief and Union minister Vijay Sampla condemned the incident. “Apart from the killing of an Akali sarpanch Manpreet Kaur’s husband Harkirat Singh in Sangrur, this killing the same day paints the picture of deteriorating law and order in Punjab,” said Sampla. Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal also condemned the killing.
Hindu right wing the target
■ Apr 23, 2016: Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta shot dead in Khanna
■ Aug 6, 2016: RSS leader Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd) shot dead in Jalandhar
■ Jan 14, 2017: Shri Hindu Takht district president Amit Sharma shot dead in Ludhiana
■ Oct 17: RSS leader Ravinder Gosain shot dead in Ludhiana
■ Oct 30: Vipan Sharma of Hindus Sangharsh Sena shot in Amritsar
Besides these murders, matriarch of the Namdhari sect, two followers of Dera Sacha Sauda and a Christian pastor have also been shot dead in the past two years
(The story has been updated)