Panic gripped students and teachers of Government Girls Primary School, Barwala, when Neeraj Rana, a relative of victim Bhupesh Rana, sneaked into the school premises after scaling the short boundary wall to seek shelter on Monday. The teachers, including the school principal, who does not wish to be named, helped Neeraj hide in one of the classrooms. Neeraj stayed there for around eight minutes as teachers and students were frightened to hear multiple gunshots. He came out of the classroom when the assailants left in a Swift and Innova.
A woman teacher said, “I was in my classroom when a man scaled the rear boundary wall and entered the school. First, he entered the room of our principal, who was taking class. The principal brought him to one of the rooms, which had curtains. We heard multiple gunshots and students started shouting. When we came out of the school after the assailants fled, we found one woman laying unconscious on the street and onlookers said that she lost consciousness when she saw bullets being fired at the victim.”
The temple, where victim Bhupesh Rana had paid obeisance, was located near the school.
Locals slammed the district police claiming that law and order in the area had been deteriorating with each passing day. Ravinder Rana, a BJP leader, said, “The police had been informed about the suspicious movements of the assailants in the area but they ignored. Had the police acted on time, this incident could have been avoided. It is a clear-cut negligence on part of the local police.”
Suresh Rana, a resident of Barwala, said, “The assailants committed a murder near a government primary school. There was a high possibility of casualties to other people, especially children.”
As news of of the daylight murder spread, people in large numbers gathered on the spot and held a protest after placing the body on the road. Later, the body was taken to NH-73 ahead of the Barwala bus stand and vehicles were not allowed to pass from the highway. Additional police force from Police Lines, Moginand, was called and the SHOs of all nearby police stations rushed to the spot.
Politicians of various parties, including Panchkula MLA Gian Chand Gupta, also rushed to the spot.