Shiv Sena state secretary Harvinder Soni was shot at today while he was playing volleyball at a park in Gurdaspur, adjacent to the deputy commissioner’s residence. Three people have been arrested in connection with the case.
Kashmir Singh, a resident of Galwadi village, was arrested at Khanna Sadar police station in Ludhiana district. He was chased and caught by Soni’s guards and handed over to Gurdaspur police. Kashmir claimed to be a pathi (reciter of gurbani), a police official said. One of the guards attached with Soni said that after being caught, Kashmir shouted slogans of “Khalistan zindabad”.
Another accused was arrested by Patiala police following a state-wide alert after the shooting. Border Range Inspector General Ishwar Chander Sharma identified him as Inderpal Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur. Late in the evening, one Gurjeet Singh, a resident of Wadala Granthian in Gurdaspur, was also arrested. Police said Gurjeet “had knowledge about the crime and was roped in by the prime accused”.
“As the game of volleyball was on, someone fired a shot. Soni fell to the ground and the assailant ran away,” said a Sena activist who accompanied Soni to hospital.
The bullet, fired from a .315 bore country-made pistol, hit Soni in the abdomen. He was stated to be out of danger after surgery at a hospital in Amritsar.
After the incident, Sena activists and similar outfits converged in Gurdaspur and a meeting was held. There were reports that they had called a bandh in Gurdaspur Monday. Sources said during preliminary interrogation, Kashmir Singh said the incident was an act of revenge as Soni had allegedly removed the turban of a Sikh during a bandh in Gurdaspur in March 2012 and against the killing of Sikh youth Jaspal Singh the next day amid police firing.
The bandh, on March 28, 2012, was called to protest against the proposed execution following a court order of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who is on death row for his role in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh. That day, four Sikh youths travelling on three motorcycles were allegedly beaten up by Soni and his supporters. Soni was booked for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of a community, wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt, rioting, armed with deadly weapons, unlawful assembly and mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 on the complaint of Gurjit Singh, who alleged disrespect shown to his religion and thrashing by Sena activists. The next day, March 29, Jaspal Singh, a BTech student at Beant College of Engineering and Technology, was killed amid police firing.
IG Sharma said preliminary interrogation of Kashmir Singh revealed he did not have links with any terrorist outfit.