A former Akali Dal sarpanch, Dalbir Singh (52), was brutally murdered by a group of men in his village, Dhilwan, in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. Dalbir, who had earlier served as the village sarpanch for two terms, was shot multiple times and attacked with sharp-edged weapons on Monday evening.
Three villagers, Balwinder Singh and his sons Mandeep Singh and Major Singh, have been booked under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC at the Kotali Singh Wala police station. No arrest has been made so far.
Batala SSP Openderjit Singh said that Dalbir and his neighbour, Balwinder Singh, had entered into a verbal spat over a domestic help earlier in the day on Monday. A compromise was reached between both of them with the help of villagers, he added. But while the SSP pointed to a personal tiff as per the initial police probe, the victim’s family alleged that there was a political motive behind the killing.
Ranjodh Singh, nephew of Dalbir Singh, said: “Balwinder Singh and his family live near our house. There was a small trouble on Monday as Mandeep was threatening our servant on the street. It was a small matter. My uncle went to stop Mandeep. But there was nothing in that incident that would lead to them killing him in the evening.”
He said: “My uncle Dalbir Singh was in the business of harvesting machines…. He knew that his life was in danger so he avoided living in Punjab after formation of the Congress government. He had returned only on Monday that too to attend the wedding of his sister’s daughter. Before his murder, he had just returned home after attending a wedding related ceremony. Today was the main function.”
About the family’s allegations, the SSP said: “We have registered a case on the basis of complaint filed by the family members. We are investigating all the angles. Raids are being conducted to arrest all the accused.”
Dalbir was attacked while taking a stroll outside his house in the evening. After the incident, he was taken to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
“He went outside the house while talking over phone at around 8:30 pm. The attackers waylaid him on the other side of the road where they were hiding in the darkness. His body had multiple injuries from sharp-edged weapons. He was shot in the back of his head and then several bullets were pumped into his chest,” said Ranjodh.
He added that it was a passer-by who heard the victim’s cries and called his family over phone.
“We ran towards the fields and found the accused running away and Dalbir Singh lying in a pool of blood…. Four bullets were recovered from his body after autopsy… We noted down the number of the two-wheeler which the accused used to run away from the spot… There were six to seven persons involved in the murder,” Ranjodh said.