Tension in Amritsar over SAD leader’s death in police encounter
Agitated over the death of Mukhjit Singh Mukha, a local Shiromani Akali Dal leader who was killed in police encounter near Mudhal village on Tuesday night, his family and relatives along with hundreds of Akali leaders and workers held protests in the area following the incident even as cops maintained it was a case of mistaken identity.Updated: Jun 17, 2015 22:35 IST
Agitated over the death of Mukhjit Singh Mukha, a local Shiromani Akali Dal leader who was killed in police encounter near Mudhal village on Tuesday night, his family and relatives along with hundreds of Akali leaders and workers held protests in the area following the incident even as cops maintained it was a case of mistaken identity.
Mukha, SAD in-charge from ward number 16 in Amritsar, died on the spot when he was on his way from Verka to Mudhal village in his Hyundai i-20 car.
The police later maintained that they were looking for notorious gangster Jaggu Bhagwan Puria, who was also moving in the area in a white Hyundai i-20 car and they ‘mistakenly’ gunned down Mukha.
Terming it a planned murder, the protesters sought registration of a case against the policemen involved in the incident.The police, however, have registered a case under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, sections 25 and 27/54/59 of the Arms Act at the Division-A police station against an unidentified persons.
In the case, which has been registered ‘on secret information’, the cops have alleged that a police team was present near the Mudhal bypass for an operation when they were informed that gangster Jaggu Bhagwan Puria was roaming on Verka side in a white i-20 car sans number plate with ammunition and was likely to head towards Batala side.
Soon after, a check-post was installed opposite NRC Rubber Factory on Batala Road at Verka. At around 6:30pm, a white Hyundai i-20 without number plate was signalled to stop but the car driver who wore goggles opened fire at the police party, in which head constable Ramesh Kumar sustained bullet injuries.
The FIR says that the police party retaliated and in cross firing and the accused died in the car. The injured head constable was admitted to hospital.
The scuffle at night
The protestors prevented the police from removing the corpse of the deceased and his car from the spot. The situation got out of hand at around 11:00 PM on Tuesday night when the protestors tried to overturn a police vehicle that had reached the spot to remove the dead body and the car.
The tussle between the supporters of Mukha and the police continued till almost 2:00 AM, and Mukha’s corpse remained at the spot through the night till the early morning. It was placed in the freezer of a nearby Gurdwara at around 4:00 AM when it started decomposing. However, protests continued through the day with the SAD leaders, kin and supporters of the deceased staging blockades at various places that threw the traffic out of gear.
Protests in the daytime
The series of protests at various places in the city started on Wednesday at 9:00 AM. A protest was held at Verka Chowk during which the supporters of the deceased blockaded the bypass leading towards the Batala side, Attari side and the city side.
A blockade was also staged at the main Vallah bypass at the point that connects with Mehta Road. The Bazaar at Verka remained closed on account of the protest, while the bypass and the Jalandhar road witnessed traffic jams. A traffic jam was also witnessed at the Bhandari Bridge on account of these sit-ins. The protests were lifted at 2:00 PM following assurances of the SIT.
SIT begins probe: A three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed late on Tuesday night following protests by SAD workers, who alleged that the killing of Mukha was a clear case of murder and the cops responsible for it should he booked under section 302 IPC, has begun investigations into the killing of Mukha.
The team is headed by IGP (crime) Nageshwar Rao, IG (crime) Tejinder Singh Maur (SP crime) and DIG (border range) A K Mittal. SIT was. The team on Wednesday visited the site of the encounter and re-created the crime scene. The bullet riddle car that Mukha was driving was also ferried to the site. The SIT team also viewed the footage of the CCTV camera placed outside the rubber factory near which the incident took place.
Cases against Mukha: A press release, bearing details of cases against Mukha was circulated to highlight his connection with various crimes. As per the press release, Mukha was among the six accused besides Jagtar Singh alias Boxer, Amandeep Singh, Davinder Singh, Manjit Singh and Karanbir Singh, who were booked under sections 382, 452, 427, 148, 149 IPC at Civil Lines Police Station in July 2000.
A complaint in this regard had been lodged with the police by Surjit Singh, owner of Surjit Chicken House and Restaurant, Lawrence Road, who had alleged that the accused, armed with lethal weapons entered and vandalized his shop and looted cash. Mukha was declared PO in the case and was arrested in June 2007. In a case registered against Mukha in July 1999 under sections 25, 54, 59 Arms Act at Ajnala Police Station, a .12 bore gun and 12 live cartridges were recovered from Mukjit Singh Mukha.
What SAD leaders say: Upkar Singh Sandhu, Amritsar (urban) district unit chief, SAD, while terming it as a ‘planned, cold blooded murder’ said that he had spoken to members of the SIT, who had assured him that justice would be done. “I have viewed the footage of the CCTV camera placed outside the rubber factory near which the incident took place. We have withdrawn the protest for now. We will give SIT time to investigate the matter,” he said. He demanded registration of a criminal case against whoever is found guilty in the matter.
Official Speak: When contacted, DIG (border range) A K Mittal, said that the SIT has started investigating the matter. “It is a very sensitive issue hence it has to be handled with care. The SIT has started investigating the matter. We’ll try to complete the investigations at the earliest. There are technicalities involved in it that cannot be ignored. The postmortem of the deceased has been conducted and the forensic team is also investigating the matter. These reports are yet awaited and will be taken into consideration,” he said.
First Published: Jun 17, 2015 21:00 IST