TWO DAYS after a 22-year-old youth was found murdered in Gharangna village of Punjab’s Mansa district, with one leg severed and missing, the police on Wednesday said the limb was recovered from the fields near the house where the body was found. They also said three of the six accused have been arrested.
Victim Sukchain Singh Pali’s family members, who had refused to cremate the body unless the missing limb was found, today reiterated their allegation that a top leader of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was protecting the accused. They refused to let a post-mortem be done on the severed limb unless all the accused are arrested, and booked under SC/ST Act apart from murder charges.
Pali, who was from a Dalit family, was found dead on Monday night in the house of one Balbir Singh. The police had said Pali, as well as the accused, were involved in illegal liquor trade, and the youth appeared to have been killed over inter-gang rivalry.
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His family claimed Pali had left the liquor trade nearly six months ago.
Late Monday night, the police registered an FIR against six people. On Wednesday, police said three of the accused — Hardeep Singh, Balbir Singh and Sadhu Singh — have been arrested, and efforts are on to nab the others.
Police, however, turned down the possibility of any caste angle in the case, pointing out that one of the accused, Babreek Singh, is also a Dalit.
Outside Civil Hospital in Mansa, where the family members are sitting on a dharna, Pali’s mother Karamjeet Kaur claimed that they are receiving threats to withdraw their complaint. She also alleged that SAD Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder was protecting the accused.
Denying any links with any of the accused, Bhunder said, “I have not even been to Mansa for several days. The culprits should be arrested and given strictest punishment.”
While CPI(ML) leader Amrik Singh Samao and Mazdoor Mukti Morcha’s Gurmeet Singh Nandgarh came out in support of Pali’s family on Tuesday, Punjab Congress spokesperson Sunil Jakhar today met the family at Civil Hospital and demanded a CBI probe.
In Chandigarh, AAP Punjab convener Gurpreet Singh Waraich said the police are “failing” to provide security.