Tuesday, June 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

33 SAD men held at Bhikhiwind
Varinder Walia and Rashmi Talwar

Valtoha (Amritsar), June 10
The sensational multiple murders of Shiromani Akali Dal leader Gurdial Singh and five others last month took a new turn today with the arrest of about 33 persons by the Valtoha police here at about 1 p.m. while they were holding a political rally at the residence of the deceased SAD leader, Gurdial Singh.

Gurdial Singh was brutally murdered along with five other persons, including a Sarpanch, Mukhtiar Singh, in sensational daylight multiple murders, committed at Bhikhiwind on May 19. To urge the state administration to arrest the accused in the case and to protest against the alleged cancellation of nomination papers of SAD candidates at the behest of the Irrigation Minister in the recently concluded Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti poll, hundred of supporters of the SAD had gathered at the residence of the deceased Akali leader today.

Even as the SSP, Tarn Taran, Mr Narinder Bhargav, asserted that no woman had been arrested in the “preventive arrests” made today by the Valtoha police, Mr Budhiraj Singh and Ms Sukhraj Kaur, son and daughter of the deceased, Gurdial Singh, while talking to The Tribune, alleged that their mother Bibi Gian Kaur, too, was taken into custody by the police along with their paternal uncle, Mr Nau Nihal Singh, and Mr Virsa Singh Valtoha, former member of the Punjab Subordinate Selection Committee, without any provocation.

They said they were only raising the issue of the Congress government’s “bullying tactics” to wrest the seats in the recently concluded poll and demanding the arrest of the absconding accused in the murder case when the police swooped on them. They demanded the arrest of Mr Gurchet Singh Bhuller, Minister for Irrigation and a political rival of the murdered Akali leader, at whose “behest” the murders were committed and who was responsible for using the state machinery to undercut political rivals, they alleged.

They said the meeting at their house was arranged to send a delegation to stage a dharna at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh on the opening day of the Vidhan Sabha session to place their demands.

However, the SSP said the arrests were just a “preventive measure” to stall any move by the SAD to create a law and order problem on the opening day of the first Vidhan Sabha session after the Congress took over the reins of the state.

The SSP further said that the vehicle, a “red Qualis” used by the assailants to fire with automatic weapons killing five persons on the spot while the sixth died in hospital, was recovered after the interrogation of two accused arrested in the case namely Bikramjit Singh and Inderjit Singh.

The Tarn Taran police arrested these two on their way to a religious dera on a tipoff. In addition to that, automatic weapons used by the assailants in committing the crime, too, were recovered from “Bhorchhi Rajputan village”, he added.

Mr Surinder Kairon, a close relative of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the political mentor of the deceased Akali leader, while talking to The Tribune termed the arrests as a “murder of democracy” by the Congress. He said the police, too, was siding with the ruling party to suppress political rivals.Back

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