SAD leader shot dead in Amritsar; party blames Congress

SAD leader shot dead in Amritsar; party blames Congress

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A local Shiromani Akali Dal leader was shot dead by three motorcycle-borne assailants at Umarpura village here, in what the opposition party claimed was a "politically-motivated murder" carried out at the behest of the ruling Congress.

The 50-year-old Gurdeep Singh's killing on Wednesday is the second instance of fatal attacks on SAD leaders in the state since November when Dalbir Singh Dhilwan was killed in Gurdaspur.

Gurdeep, whose wife is a village head, was killed when he was coming out of a gurdwara after offering prayers, the police said.

Gurdeep was said to be a close associate of senior Akali Dal leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who alleged the crime was carried out by Jaggu Bhagwanpuria gang and demanded a CBI probe.

"It is a politically-motivated murder (carried out) at the behest of the Congress," he told a press conference in Chandigarh.

The police said the assailants managed to flee after pumping five bullets into Gurdeep's body, who died on the spot.

The police also said they have booked five people including a father-son duo, Nirmal Singh and Harmanjeet Singh, in connection with the killing.

The police said Harmanjeet is wanted in several criminal cases.

Station House Officer (SHO) Tarsem Singh said raids were being conducted at their possible hideouts to nab them. The police are also examining CCTV footage obtained from nearby areas.

Majithia, who was accompanied by former minister Daljit Singh Cheema at the Chandigarh presser, said Gurdeep was very close to him and he had served the party for a long time.

Majithia also claimed the killing was a culmination of "threats" being issued to him with the warning of dangerous consequences if he did not stop speaking against an alleged "minister-gangster nexus" in Punjab.

"A message has been sent to me (with this murder) that my close political associates will be targeted if I do not stop speaking for justice for former Akali Sarpanch Dalbir Dhilwan who was also murdered in the same way like Baba Gurdeep Singh," said Majithia.

The Akali leader said he had approached Punjab Direct General of Police Dinkar Gupta last November, seeking action against the Jaggu Bhagwanpuria gang but nothing was done.

Majithia said he had also sought safety for his associates from the Punjab police and but nothing was done.

The SAD had described Dhilwan's killing also as a "political murder". 

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