Updated: June 11, 2021 12:01:03 am
Hundreds of locals of Chauke village staged a dharna and blocked the Bathinda-Chandigarh Highway in Bathinda on Thursday with the body of kabaddi coach Harwinder Singh alias Coach, who succumbed to the injuries that he had allegedly sustained during a clash on May 26. The protest was continuing till the filing of this report, with senior police officers trying to talk to the protesters to end the impasse.
An FIR regarding the alleged May 26 clash, lodged with Gill Kalan police station, states that Harwinder and his friends had been allegedly attacked by some villagers — identified as Gurjeet, Gagna, Babbu — after they had lodged a complaint against Gagna and Babbu for stealing poultry.
The family of Harwinder however, claim that the coach was beaten to death by ‘drug smugglers’. In the May 26 FIR, Gurjeet and his friends and a few others had been booked.
Bathinda SSP Bhupinderjit Singh Virk, meanwhile, said they have lodged an FIR of murder against six people, who were arrested on Thursday evening.
“The kabaddi coach on May 26 had alleged that Gagna, Babbu and others had stolen poultry birds from the house his uncle Makhan Singh’s house. This led to Harwinder and his friends having an altercation with Gurjeet, and his friend Babbu, and a few others. It was alleged by Harwinder that they were attacked with sharp edged weapons. Both parties had then been called to the police station on May 26, where they refused to compromise. They were then sent back home as senior police officers were busy in kisan unions dharna on that day, However, the situation escalated by the evening and both parties clashed with each other over the issue. Now, some other allegations are being levelled,” SSP Virk said.
The SSP added, “No one spoke anything about drug assault angle in the earlier complaint. We are looking into the allegations.”
Harwinder was rushed to the civil hospital after the clash, where he was admitted along with his friends Satpal Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Hardeep Singh, and others. “His condition worsened two days ago before he finally succumbed on June 9,” Virk said.
The family of the coach refused to get a post-mortem done, instead choosing to protest with the body on the Bathinda-Chandigarh Highway.
Virk added, “We have already arrested six people on murder charges and we are talking with the family of the coach to try and end the protests.”
The family of the coach, however, alleged that Harwinder had tried to stop some villagers from selling drugs due to which he had been beaten up along with his friends. A video of the incident, showing Harwinder being attacked, was also posted on social media by the accused which later went viral, confirmed villager Baldev Singh. Police, however, categorically, denied any drug angle to the case but stated that culprits will not be spared.
Gupreet Singh Kotli, one of the friends of the coach said, “We want the culprits to be punished. We also want a job for a family member, besides compensation. The sole breadwinner of the family has been murdered mercilessly. He used to train kabaddi players and he himself used to take part in tournaments.”
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