Amid tight security and chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’, the cremation of RSS Punjab Seh Sanghchalak (second-in-command), Brigadier (retd) Jagdish Gagneja, took place at Jalandhar’s Ram Bagh on Thursday evening.
After spending 47 days in hospital, Gagneja died of septicemia in the morning. During the post-mortem examination, conducted by a board of four doctors at the Hero DMC Heart institute, three bullets were taken out of Gagneja’s body — two from the abdomen and one from the neck. The 0.9 mm bullets have been handed over to the CBI.
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Dr Varun Saggar, a surgeon who was part of the autopsy team, told The Indian Express, “Septicemia was the cause of death. We took out all three bullets. An infection had developed, which led to septicemia and multiple organ failure.”
In a departure from the norm, the post-mortem was not conducted at a civil hospital, though a team of doctors from the civil hospital was called in. “It was done because of security reasons,” said Anil Sareen, vice-president of the BJP in Punjab.
Gagneja was shot by two youths on a motorcycle when he was shopping with his wife at a market in Jalandhar on August 6. Of the six bullets that were fired, three hit him. He never regained consciousness after being shot, and had been on ventilator ever since.
All senior BJP leaders from the state, including state president Vijay Sampla, attended the funeral. Several Congress leaders also turned up. Punjab Deputy CM and SAD president Sukhbir Badal reached the cremation ground at around 5.30 pm, but by then most people had started leaving.
RSS state president Brij Bhushan Bedi and several other RSS leaders were also present.
Security at the RSS office in Gopal Nagar was beefed up as police conducted meetings to keep the law and order situation under control. Police were also deployed at several strategic points across Jalandhar. Sources said national BJP leaders could not make it for the cremation as they had already left for the BJP national council meeting in Kozhikode.
BJP MLA from Amritsar Navjot Kaur Sidhu and state minister Anil Joshi blamed the Punjab police for Gagneja’s death. “He was like a father to me,” Sidhu said. “I am here only because of him.” Sukhbir Badal admitted that the Punjab police had certain “limitations”, which is why the probe had been handed over to the CBI. The central agency is yet to make a breakthrough in the case.