CHANDIGARH: A 20-year-old Dalit youth, allegedly involved in illicit liquor trade, was tortured to death and his leg chopped off by his rivals in Punjab’s Mansa district, following which several accused persons have been booked.
The killing of Sukhchain Singh, who was allegedly abducted and murdered in Gharanghna village in the district, is the second incident in a year. Earlier, another dalit Bhim Tank (27) was attacked with blunt weapons and later died. In both the incidents, the culprits allegedly had ‘VVIP links’ and leaders of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had been accused of sheltering them.
The Punjab Police on Wednesday recovered the missing limb of Singh, who was allegedly abducted by a rival group of liquor smugglers who chopped off one of his legs. Police sources said Singh and his associates were involved in the sale of illegal liquor in his village which infuriated the rival gang that included mostly upper caste landlords. Before the murder, Singh and his friends had a fight with one of the accused, Sita Singh, at Makha village. Later, Singh was found murdered on Monday with an iron rod thrust in his chest. Earlier, he was pulled out of his SUV and his leg chopped off.
His body was recovered from the house of Balbir Singh, one of the accused. The police have booked Balbir, Hardip Singh, Bitta Singh and Sadhu Singh all of Gharanghna, Bittu Singh of Chhote Nangal, Sita Singh of Makha village, besides others. Hardip and his brother Bitta are nephews of Gharanghna sarpanch Sardool Singh, who is the son of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s driver, said sources.
The incident took a political turn when the family of the victim blamed SAD MP Balwinder Singh Bhundar for protecting the accused in the case. However, Bhundar denied the allegations. “I have no connection with the accused,” he claimed.
The deceased person’s mother Karamjeet Kaur alleged that the accused smugglers had planned the attack and had given `5 lakh to the police to ensure that they did not act. She demanded the arrest of all the accused.
Congress MLA Sunil Jakharnil Jakhar criticised the ruling SAD-BJP government for patronising the liquor mafia in the State. “All the cases involving the liquor mafia should be clubbed together and the CBI should enquire into it under the supervision of a sitting judge,” said Jakhar.