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BSP leader among 13 hurt in shootout
Naveen S. Garewal and Rahul Dass
Tribune News Service

Ambala/Chandigarh, January 25
In a daylight shootout, members of one family fired indiscriminately and injured 13 persons, some critically, over a land dispute. The injured include Bahujan Samaj Party’s state General Secretary, Mr Amrik Singh, his sons and a nephew. The BSP leader and four others with gunshot wounds have been brought to Chandigarh and have undergone complicated surgeries.

Mr Amrik Singh, who has around a hundred pellets in his back, has undergone a five-hour-long surgery at the Sector 32 General Hospital and is still reported to be serious.

Two other victims of the firing have lost vision in one eye each. Doctors attending on them said that they would have to be operated upon and it would only be known with time if their vision returns.

The firing took place at village Machchonda around 8.30 am, close to the DRM Complex, just off the Ambala-Delhi highway. Eyewitnesses told The Tribune that one Zorawar Singh alias Zora and his family members that included women climbed the rooftop of their house in a bid to prevent villagers from using a lane that was under their control but was got opened by the District Administration a day earlier, following a court order.

Just as Mr Karam Singh, son of Mr Amrik Singh, approached this ‘newly opened’ lane he was fired upon and injured. Hearing his cries, Mr Amrik Singh rushed to rescue his son, but he too was shot at and injured in his back. Following this Zorawar Singh accompanied by Khaman Singh, Lali, Angrez Singh and some women continued to fire at everyone who went to help the injured. In the process 13 persons received gunshot injuries and some were hit by sharp edged weapons. The attackers did not even spare a woman returning home after dropping her child at school.

Superintendent of Police, Ambala Mr Rajbir Deswal said that seven persons were arrested for the indiscriminate firing.

They included Zorawar Singh, Angrez Singh, Surjeet Singh alias Lali and four women. Besides one gun, six live cartridges and four used cartridges have also been recovered. An FIR has been registered.

Eyewitnesses accused the local ‘choki’ level police personnel of being in connivance with the attackers, but the SP said: “As soon as we received information, a posse of policemen was rushed to the village. Zora Singh was arrested from the spot. The situation has been brought under control.” However, the villager contested this claim and said that no police personnel had reached the spot till the injured were rushed to hospital.

The injured include Amrik Singh, Major Singh, Kaptan Singh, Karam Singh, Kulwant Singh, Baljinder Singh, Angrez Singh, Gurvinder Singh, Gulzar Singh, Sohan Singh and Paramjit Kaur. Two persons from Zora Singh’s family claim that they were injured when villagers retaliated. The two injured persons are Baba Singh and Faman Singh.

According to the District Administration, the dispute is over a piece of land which is located adjacent to Zora Singh’s residence. A ‘johar’ (pond) is located in the village common land. A road was being built through the land which would have connected Machchonda with Baba Heri and Shahpur. Zora Singh and his family members claimed that since this land belonged to them the road could not be constructed.

Zora Singh and his family members had taken forcible possession of the land. They had claimed that the registry of the land had been done in their favour. The villagers claimed that the registry had been done illegally following which it was impounded. However, yesterday the land was got vacated following the intervention of District Administration officials in the presence of a police contingent.

Mr Maan Singh Manhera, All-India General Secretary of the Bahujan Samaj Party has strongly condemned the incident. “This incident clearly shows that the law and order situation in Haryana has collapsed and there is jungle raj. We demand that justice should be done by booking the guilty. Such unfortunate incidents are becoming common in Haryana. Incidents like those in Jhajjar, Gohana and Nilokheri show that things are out of control. If prompt action is not taken, we will be forced to agitate.”

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