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Namdhari leader shot dead near Bhaini Sahib
Shivani Bhakoo and Gurminder Grewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana/Bhaini Sahib, April 12
Two unidentified persons today shot dead 57-year-old Avtar Singh Tari, a staunch follower of Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji of Bhaini Sahib (about 25 km from here) on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway. Based at Mohali, Avtar Singh, belonging to the Namdhari sect, was a frequent visitor to Bhaini Sahib.

According to available information, Avtar Singh started from Mohali this morning in his Toyota Altis car. On the way he was followed by three persons on a Pulsar bike. Fearing a threat to life, Avtar Singh stopped at an acquaintance's place near Kohara. After staying there for about 15-20 minutes, when he resumed his journey to Bhaini Sahib, the unidenified persons on the motorbike, who were waiting for him, started firing at him from point-blank range.

According to witnesses, the bullets were pumped straight into his chest, head, stomach and thighs and he died on the spot. The body of Avtar Singh was sent to Civil Hospital, Ludhiana for the postmortem.

The police recovered 11 empty cartridges from the spot. The Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh, who was camping at Bhaini Sahib till the filing of this report, said, "The situation is under control and the investigations are on. Forensic experts have taken the empty cartridges to find which weapon was used by the assailants for committing the crime". The case under Sections 302/34/120 B (IPC) and 25/54/59 of the Arms Act has been registered against three unidentified persons at the Sahnewal police station.

One of the sewadars at Bhaini Sahib gurdwara, on the condition of anonymity, said that the deceased is survived by one son and two daughters. "Basically, Avtar Singh belonged to village Amrasaar in Sirsa district and was into the property dealing business. He was a staunch follower of Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji. Though it is too early to say anything but we believe that the murder is the outcome of a personal rivalry. Some sophisticated weapon seems to have been used by the assailants", said the sewadar.





Conflicting views on reason for murder
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
The staunch followers of the Namdhari sect have termed the war of succession for the "guru gaddi" of Satguru Jagjit Singh (the supreme of Namdhari sect) as the reason behind the murder of Avtar Singh Tari.

The Sahnewal police has registered an FIR against Thakur Dalip Singh, the nephew of Satguru Jagjit Singh on the complaint given by Balbir Singh, the brother-in-law of Avtar Singh Tari.

Thakur Dalip Singh had recently put up a photo exhibition in Anandpur Sahib wherein he had depicted Gurbani through his photographs. Also, his second exhibition was due to commence in Amritsar from tomorrow.

The police has not ruled out the angle of contract killing.

A close confidant of Satuguru Jagjit Singh said that the weapon used for murder was AK-47, which was provided by the government to the family of the Namdhari supreme for his personal security.

It is learnt that Satguru Jagjit Singh is not keeping well and the war of succession has resulted in the rivalry between the two factions.

One faction is led by Dalip Singh who wants his son to become the successor while the other faction is led by Jagtar Singh, the son-in-law of Satguru Jagjit Singh who wants “guru gaddi” for his son. However, the close associates of Satguru Jagjit Singh are tight lipped on the issue.

Jagtar Singh, while speaking to The Tribune, said, “The complainant has given the name of Dalip Singh in the FIR and let the police investigate into the matter. It would be premature for me to make any comment but I am devastated at the murder of Avtar Singh who was a faithful follower of Satguru Jagjit Singh and was committed to the sect,” said Jagtar Singh.

When asked about the dispute over “guru gaddi”, Jagtar Singh, speaking in the capacity of Satguru Jagjit’s Singh’s son-in-law said that Satguru was in good health and he will nominate the right person as the time comes adding, “the decision will be acceptable to one and all.” Jugdip Singh, managing director at SPS Apollo hospital, Ludhiana, denied the reports of war of succession as the reason behind the murder. He maintained that Avtar Singh was an ordinary person and just a part of the Namdhari sect.



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