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Alert in Phagwara as dera head shot dead
Our Correspondents

Hoshiarpur/Phagwara, May 16
An alert has been sounded in Phagwara sub-division and its adjoining areas after unidentified assailants shot dead the head of Dera Mai Dass (Nirmali sect), Sant Pradhan Singh, at Baddon village of Hoshiarpur district today morning.

According to police, the assailants shot four bullets at Sant Pradhan Singh from an AK-47 rifle at the Dera premises in the wee hours. However, he succumbed to his injuries while being taken to the Civil Hospital, Phagwara.

As a precautionary measure to avert any communal tension, the police took the body into its custody. Later, it was sent for a post-mortem examination. But as the news of the death spread, a large number of dera followers gathered at the hospital.

Speaking to The Tribune, a Baddon resident, Amrik Singh, said the incident occurred at about 4 a.m., soon after the dera head finished his morning prayers. On hearing the doorbell, Pradhan Singh reached the gate of the dera where the assailants already waiting there under the cover of darkness sprayed bullets at him, four of them hitting the sect head, added Amrik.

Pradhan Singh, it is learnt, lay at the gate unattended until sewadarni of the dera, Bibi Paramjit Kaur, arrived. She raised the alarm and called for other followers, who took him to a private doctor at a nearby village. From there, he was referred to the Civil Hospital. Ruling out the involvement of any terrorist outfit or Naxalites in the incident, SSP Rajesh Aggarwal said a case has been registered and investigation was on.

DIG, Jalandhar Range, Sharad Satya Chauhan, said the culprits would be nabbed soon.

Meanwhile, an alert has been sounded in the area and all police stations in the district and adjoining areas have been informed about the incident.

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