2017 saw Tricity staying in the national headlines throughout, but for all the wrong reasons. It was a year defined for Tricity residents by a spate of criminal incidents, horrific enough to touch off the national conscience — murders, rapes, sexual harassment and violence, not counting the daily incidents of snatching and robberies. Indian Express looks back at some of these incidents
Ekam Singh Dhillon murder: He was shot and his six-foot frame stuffed into the back of a BMW car in Phase-3B1 of Mohali. After working on many theories, the police arrested his wife, Seerat Dhillon, for executing the crime. Seerat is behind bars and the case is under trial.
Violence in Panchkula: Haryana’s seat of power was the epicentre of violence which broke out minutes after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Thirty-two Dera followers were killed in the police firing and a huge loss was caused to public property and vehicles. For days, there was tension in the air, with Panchkula resembling a ghost town. DCP Ashok Kumar was suspended for not enforcing prohibitory sections. Later, his suspension was withdrawn.
Satnam Singh murder: The sarpanch of a Punjab village called Khurda, Satnam, was gunned down in broad daylight in front of a gurdwara in Sector 38. Three Punjab-based gangsters, Harwinder Singh Rinda, Dilpreet Singh and Harjinder Singh Akash, were identified as the killers, but are still absconding. Satnam’s family has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking transfer of investigation to a central agency.
Violence at PU: The normally humdrum PU witnessed its worst ever student protest over a proposed fee hike. Students resorted to stone throwing at cops, who in turn reacted with massive tear gas shelling and lathi charge on the protesters. Tension continued to prevail for days, as authorities lodged criminal cases against 68 students. Even a sedition charge was invoked against students, mostly belonging to the Students for Society (SFS). The anti-state charge under 124-A, was later withdrawn.
Minor rape victim delivers child: A 10-year-old girl, during a routine check-up by doctors for complaint of persistent stomach ache, was found 30 weeks’ pregnant. Later, her two maternal uncles were arrested and convicted for rape and sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 376 (2) (f) (i) of the IPC on November 2. The case hit national headlines when the Supreme Court, citing medical reasons, rejected a plea of abortion submitted by the 10-year-old’s parents.
Varnika Kundu stalking: Daughter of a senior IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, Virender Kundu, was stalked on the night of August 4 by Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend, Ashish, with both also attempting to kidnap Varnika. The initial negligence for slapping lenient sections against the two men attracted nation-wide criticism for the Chandigarh Police. Later, senior officers managed to do damage control after arresting the two under harsher sections. Varnika praised the police for the quick response to her distress call.
February 9, 2017
Akansh Sen murder: A white BMW was driven over Akansh Sen, son of Virbhadra Singh’s brother-in-law, Arun Sen, outside a house in Chandigarh’s posh Sector 9. Harmehtab Singh Farid, the maternal grandson of the CM of the princely estate Pepsu and Balraj Singh Randhawa, a law graduate and real estate businessman, were the prime accused. Farid was arrested while the police have failed to trace Randhawa. Arun Sen, father of Akansh, fears that Randhawa may have flown out of the country.
KJ Singh murder: The senior journalist and his 94-year-old mother Gurcharan Kaur were found murdered in their house in Phase-3B2, Mohali. The police worked on many theories, interrogating the senior journalist’s close relatives and former colleagues. Finally, on October 27, Gaurav Kumar, a resident of Bulandshahar, was arrested for the brutal killing of Singh and his mother. A minor argument between KJ and 27-year-old Gaurav, who was slapped by KJ for sitting in a public park adjoining KJ’s house, was stated as the reason behind the killings.
Gang rape by auto driver and his friends: A young woman, returning after attending her short-hand class, was gang-raped by an auto driver, Mohammed Irfan, and his two friends, Mohammed Garib and Poppu. The incident took place on November 17, with the Chandigarh Police making the first arrest on November 24.
Three siblings murdered: Sameer (11), Simran (8) and Samar (4) from Kurukshetra were shot dead by their uncle Jagdeep Malik at the Morni Hills, Panchkula. Jagdeep claimed that the father of the children, Sonu Malik, was the mastermind of the killings. Later, the police denied his claims and conducted narco and brain mapping tests on both Jagdeep and Sonu.