Former Akali sarpanch shot dead in Amritsar

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A Shiromani Akali Dal leader was shot dead at Amritsar’s Umarpura village while on his way back home from a gurdwara on Wednesday evening. The victim, Gurdeep Singh (50), was a former sarpanch of Umarpura, which falls in Majitha Assembly constituency. Three unidentified persons allegedly pumped five bullets into the body of Gurdeep Singh, who died on the spot. The victim’s family has alleged political rivalry behind the killing. Former Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia too alleged that “it is a politically-motivated murder (carried out) at the behest of the Congress”.

In the FIR registered by police on the family’s complaint, it has been alleged that one Harmanjeet Singh and his father, Nirmal Singh, from the same village are behind the murder. The duo, according to the complaint, had allegedly threatened to kill Gurdeep Singh during last year’s panchayat elections in which his wife, Gurjeet Kaur, was elected sarpanch. Police have booked Harmanjeet and his father, Nirmal Singh, under Sections 302, 120b 148 and 149 along with three unidentified persons. No arrests have been made so far.

Station House Officer (SHO) Tarsem Singh said raids were being conducted at their possible hideouts to nab them. The police are also examining CCTV footage obtained from nearby areas.

“Three persons have killed my brother-in-law on the instructions of Harmanjeet Singh and Nirmal Singh,” Charanjit Kaur, a close relative of Gurdeep Singh and an eyewitness in the case, told the police in her statement. Gurdeep Singh remained Akali Sarpanch from 2013 to 2018 and now his wife, Gurjeet Kaur, is sarpanch of the village.

Gurjeet Kaur defeated Harmanjeet Singh’s mother in the election.

According to Charanjit Kaur, Gurdeep was returning from the gurdwara when three unidentified persons — one of them wearing a turban — came from the direction of village Budha Theh on a bike. She has claimed that they stopped Gurdeep Singh and pumped bullets into his body and ran towards village Man Khera. Gurdeep Singh was declared dead at the hospital.

“It is a political murder. Harmanjeet and his father, Nirmal Singh, belong to the Congress party. Harmanjeet’s mother had contested against the wife of Gurdeep Singh in panchayat elections. Earlier, Gurdeep Singh was himself a sarpanch. His wife had won elections which were held last year. It was the reason that Harmanjeet was upset and got Gurdeep Singh killed,” said a relative, Jagdish Singh.

He alleged: “There are several cases registered against the Harmanjeet. But police have given him a free hand because he belongs to the Congress party.”

Amritsar Rural Police confirmed that there was a case of attempt to murder already pending against Harmanjeet and he was allegedly connected to ‘Pavitar’ gang active in Batala.

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