Friday, August 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Terror strikes Doaba region
From Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Aug 24 — Terror has struck the Doaba region of Punjab following activities of a small gang which reportedly injects some poisonous substance into the bodies of unsuspecting people.

The gang, including women, which has reportedly been active in the Doaba region for the past over a month, has created a scare in the minds of those residing in farm-houses or in less inhabited and upcoming colonies around cities and towns. The modus operandi and the motive of the gang is not known since none of the victims, except a boy, Jaswant Singh, of Lakhipur village, near Phagwara, died or suffered any physical injury.

Fear gripped Lakhipur today morning when Jaswant Singh fainted and later died at a hospital under mysterious circumstances.

The boy had told his parents that an unknown person had asked him for a lift on his bicycle. Later, some poisonous substance had forcibly been injected into his body by way of a syringe. After that he had started feeling drowsy but somehow reached the farm where he narrated the incident to a migrant labourer, who alerted people and took Jaswant Singh to the hospital where he died.

Surinder Singh of Sangatpur village, near Bilga, was another victim of the gang — the members of which are in the group of 30-40 years. According to the police, Surinder Singh, who was a little drunk, was made to stop at a secluded place on August 9 at around 8.30 p.m., by a young woman and her three accomplices when he was on his way to Partapra village on a bicycle. The four allegedly caught hold of him and put some liquid substance into his mouth, which instantly resulted in nausea and vomiting. He was taken to a hospital in Jalandhar where he was treated for more than a week. No case was, however, registered by the police.

Similarly, Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Bhandal Butan village near Nurmahl, fell victim to the gang when he was going on his scooter to meet his maternal uncles at Shahpur village. According to his statement to the police, as he neared Sagarpur village his scooter broke down. He was approached by a young couple on a scooter who injected some poisonous substance into his body and fled under cover of darkness.

Mr Iqbal Singh, SSP, Kapurthala, said as far as the initial investigation in to the death of Jaswant Singh was concerned, the theory of forcible injection had not been confirmed so far. “We are, however, investigating the case from all angles,” he said adding most likely it was a rumour only.

Certain police officials, however, admitted that the gang had indeed created terror among people of Kapurthala, Jalandhar, and Hoshiarpur districts.

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