One person died Tuesday after some unidentified persons opened fire on the cavalcade of prominent Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Khalsa Dhadrianwale of Patiala’s Parmeshar Dwar Gurmat Parchar Mission.
The incident happened around 8.15 pm on Ludhiana’s Barewal road when the attackers, believed to be 30-40 in number, stopped his cavalcade to serve ‘chabeel’ (drinking water). The miscreants had set up a tent on the road to serve ‘chabeel’ to the people, which the police claimed was part of a planned conspiracy.
Dhadrianwale was on his way to village Issewal to attend a religious programme.
The preacher, who was travelling in a Land Cruiser, had asked his driver to stop the vehicle when the accused attacked his cavalcade.
Another Sikh preacher, Bhupinder Singh Dhakki Sahib Wale, was grievously injured in the attack. He later succumbed to injuries at the city’s Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). Almost 20 rounds were fired during the attack. The police said that Dhadrianwale’s driver continued driving despite the vehicle’s tyres being punctured by the attackers.
“He very courageously kept driving the vehicle even after one tyre came off, which has now been recovered from the spot. The accused followed them in a Bolero and continued to fire till Dhadrianwale reached the safe hideout and informed us,” Ludhiana Police Commissioner JS Aulakh told The Indian Express.
“The accused had put up a tent on the road and were aware of saint’s movement beforehand. They stopped cavalcade to serve them water and it is a deep-rooted conspiracy. We have started the investigation and all CCTV cameras in vicinity are being scanned. Doctors have confirmed the death of Bhupinder Singh, one of the preachers who was accompanying him,” added Aulakh.
“I was the target, not Bhupinder,” Dhadrianwale, who was recording his statement at PAU police station till the filing of this report, told police. Aulakh confirmed that Dhadrianwale was safe and would be kept under their security till the danger was averted. “We are recording his statement. He has claimed that close to 30-40 miscreants opened fire on them and 15-20 rounds were fired. Dhadrianwale has also claimed that he was the prime target of this attack and not Bhupinder Singh, who has been killed. FIR for murder, attempt to murder and under sections of the Arms Act is being registered at the PAU police station,” said Aulakh.
He added that ‘till now nothing has come out which hints towards role of militants’. “Most probably it is case of personal rivalry, but we are probing all angles,” he said.
Last year, Dhadrianwale had led a protest by Sikh preachers against the incidents of alleged desecration of Guru Granth Sahib. He had, however, stayed away from the radicals-backed Sarbat Khalsa.