M A I N   N E W S

Nihangs battle it out, 4 die
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 21
Four members of Baba Balbir Singh group of Nihangs were killed in a clash with their rivals on the Baba Budha Dal premises here this evening.

Those killed include Baba Assa Singh, father of Baba Balbir Singh, who has been declared as heir of Baba Santa Singh, head of the biggest faction of Nihangs in the state. The other killed are Jagdish Singh, Karamjit Singh and Bhajan Singh. It seems the family of Baba Balbir Singh was targeted as those killed were from his family, which included his father, two brothers and nephew.

Two others seriously injured are Baba Darshan Singh and Baba Kartar Singh.

Sources said Baba Udhay Singh and Baba Surjeet Singh, who is in charge of horses of the sect came to the Baba Budha Dal premises here where an ailing Baba Santa Singh is being kept. They insisted on meeting him. However, supporters of Baba Balbir Singh stopped them on the pretext that he was too ill to meet anyone. This led to the clash. The group of Baba Udhay Singh allegedly fired indiscriminately at their rivals. The other group also tried to retaliate with swords, but was outnumbered. The firing led to the death of four on the spot.

The assailants managed to flee from the spot. The police reached the spot and just managed to shift the dead and injured to Government Rajindra Hospital.

The sources said a property owned by the sect was the motive behind the crime. The Baba Budha Dal owns a prestigious school here. Baba Udhay Singh is in charge of the trust running the school. He had the apprehension that Baba Balbir Singh got thumb impressions of Baba Santa Singh to take over the property.

Baba Santa Singh had been ex-communicated from the panth after he carried out kar seva at Akal Takht after Operation Bluestar. At that time Baba Balbir Singh was his PA and was considered to be his heir.

However, after Baba Santa was ex-communicated Baba Balbir Singh left him. During this period Baba Udhay Singh was considered heir of Baba Santa Singh.

However, after Baba Santa Singh was brought back into the Panth, Baba Balbir Singh once again mended fences with him. He had been declared heir of Baba Santa Singh at a function organised at Talwandi Sabo.

A case has been registered.



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