A Hindu outfit leader was shot dead in full public view by four unidentified men in the Bharat Nagar locality on the Amritsar-Batala road in Amritsar on Monday, police said.
Hindu Sangarsh Sena district chief Vipan Sharma (45) was standing with a friend outside a shop in the bustling Bharat Nagar locality when around a dozen bullets were pumped into him, the police said.
The killing comes within a fortnight of the gunning down of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Ludhiana on 17 October.
Two of the four masked youths, including one sporting a turban, pumped bullets into Sharma’s body and fled the spot on their motorcycles, police said.
Sharma was rushed to the Escort Hospital where he was declared brought dead. “He was brought to the emergency wing of the hospital where a team of doctors declared him brought dead. There were around 15 injury marks on the deceased’s body, including 8 bullet marks,” the hospital’s director, Dr HP Singh, said.
Police commissioner, Amritsar, SS Srivastava said the CCTVs installed at various locations had captured the incident. The footage from these cameras had been procured and the police was trying to identify the accused by making their sketches, he said.
He said the exact number of bullets shot could be ascertained only after the post-mortem report but initially it could be said that nearly 12 bullets were shot on the spot which directly hit the victim.
“It is a targeted killing and we are verifying all the aspects particularly a past threat perception if any,” he said.
Few of the deceased’s relatives and friends claimed that he had recently applied for police protection, since he was active in raising his voice against the ‘Ghalughara week’ (Operation Blue Star anniversary), the police commissioner said.
The deceased was a cable operator by profession and was running his business for the last many years in the city.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Shiv Sena flayed the gunning down of the Hindu leader.
In a statement, the Sena’s state vice-president Rajesh Palta alleged that the killing of Hindu leaders one after the other was indicative of revival of terrorism in Punjab.
“If Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh does not tackle the issue with an iron hand, and instead carries on with the SAD-BJP policy of soft-pedalling over religious fundamentalists, then Punjab will again plunge into the dark days of terrorism like in the past and there will be danger to national integrity and amity,” he claimed.