Ludhiana youths’ killing: Crackdown on police officials

Chandigarh (IANS): The Punjab government Monday evening suspended a district police chief and dismissed four police officials after two brothers in their 20s were killed in Ludhiana district Saturday in a shootout with police.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Khanna police district, Harsh Kumar Bansal, was placed under suspension for “misconduct, dereliction of duty, not exercising proper supervisory control and shielding delinquent police officials” following the shootout.

Four police officials, including Machhiwara station house officer (SHO) Manjinder Singh, were dismissed from service, said additional director general of police (ADGP) M.K. Tiwari.

The three others dismissed from service and arrested included constable Yadwinder Singh and home guards Ajit Singh and Baldev Singh. One person, Gurjit Singh, who had accompanied the police team, was also arrested. They have been booked for murder.

The two youths, both brothers in their 20s, were allegedly killed in a gunfight with police in Jamalpur area of Ludhiana district Saturday morning. Both of them – Harinder Singh and Jatinder Singh – were accused in an earlier attempt-to-murder case.

The incident occurred when police entered a house where the victims were staying. A scuffle broke out between them and the police team and shots were fired, said senior police officers in Ludhiana. The brothers were killed in the shootout.

“On 27.09.14, a police party of police station Machhiwara, District Khanna, raided a dwelling unit at Jamalpur, Ludhiana. The party was accompanied by one Gurjit Singh. Two persons, namely Harinder Singh and Jatinder Singh, both sons of Satpal Singh, were killed. A murder case was registered. Members of the police party Constable Yadwinder Singh, Ajit Singh and Baldev Singh (both home guards), along with Gurjit Singh, were arrested,” ADGP Tiwari said.

“Inspector Manjinder Singh, SHO PS Machhiwara, attempted to shield the police officials of Police District Khanna. He gave a wrong version of the incident to his superior officers and made false entries in the Daily Diary Register of the Police Station. He has been dismissed from service under Article 311(2) of the Constitution,” a police report said.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had earlier in the day set up a high-level committee to probe the killing of two youths in police firing in Ludhiana district Saturday.

Badal has asked the committee, comprising Additional Director General of Police, Crime, V.K. Bhawra and State Narcotics Bureau director Ishwar Singh, to probe the entire incident and submit the report within 15 days.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal told media in Muktsar that a special investigation team has been constituted to conduct fair investigation into the incident. He said that no one would be spared.

But the opposition Congress Monday, through a party resolution, sought the resignation of the deputy chief minister, who is also the state home minister.

Alleging the involvement of an Akali Dal leader from the Ludhiana area, the party demanded a time-bound high-level probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Congress, which described the incident as “cold-blooded killing of two brothers”, said that the probe will expose the politician-police nexus in Punjab.