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Week since Hindu leader’s murder in Amritsar, 17 Hindu activists given security

Requests pour in: Leaders file requests with Amritsar police for security or even additional cover, citing threat from radicals; even as police ruled out this angle behind the murder

punjab Updated: Nov 07, 2017 15:13 IST
Nikhil Sharma
Nikhil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Hindu Sangharsh Sena,Hindu leader shot dead,Hindu activists given security
Shiv Sena state chairman Sudhir Kumar Suri (L) and chief Jai Gopal Lali with security personnel in Amritsar on Monday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Exactly a week after Hindu Sangharsh Sena district chief Vipan Sharma was shot dead by unidentified miscreants in Bharat Nagar area of the city, the local police have deputed cops with 17 more Hindu activists.

Even otherwise, there has been a steep rise in number of requests that the police have received for security from leaders of such organisations. Most cite threat to their life from radicals. Interestingly, the police have already ruled out the involvement of radicals behind the murder of Sharma. Hindu activists claim threat to their lives saying that they could be targeted as they are vocal about the interest and welfare of Hindus in Punjab.

We are providing security only after verification of the applications and have not entertained all requests. — Amritsar DCP

To date, 37 police personnel have been deployed as security with 26 Hindu leaders and activists.

Topping the charts, Shiv Sena Punjab chairman Sudheer Kumar Soori has nine security guards, including an ASI with the Amritsar police.

“We are inundated with phone calls and applications from Hindu activists since the murder shook the city. A few have genuine concerns, but many are just trying to cash in the opportunity to take security guards from the police as a status symbol. They are even politicising the issue to get guards,” a senior police officer said.

He added that Soori had been among the most vocal leaders against radicals and thus was provided with strong security cover.

Sources claim that the leaders also seek security for their acquaintances. “We are getting lists from Hindu leaders of various outfits including numerous Shiv Sena outfits active here and other Hindu outfits including Hindu Sangarsh Committee. They have included names of their associates as well,” said another officer, adding that the process had been expedited after instructions from Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to provide security to leaders.

Soori and Arun Popa, president, All-India Hindu Sangharsh Sena, have been blaming the police for not providing security to Sharma despite requests.

Popa, who has two police guards, said, “The police should not provide gunmen to all applicants. It should verify and identify those who are under threat.”

When questioned on the issue, DCP Amrik Singh Powar said, “We are providing security only after verification of the applications and have not entertained all requests. Some same applied for arms licences. We don’t want to take any risk. Leaders actually facing threat to their lives have been given security.”

“There are around 3,500 policemen in the district. If most of them are deployed in personal security, it will not be easy to handle law and order situations in future,” another police officer said.

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 14:05 IST