His father says Inderpal is framed as he is key witness to death of youth in police firing

In yet another incident that may embarrass the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, a Youth Akali Dal leader’s relative was arrested on Sunday, a day after he assaulted, and tore the uniform of, a Home Guards constable on traffic duty in Gurdaspur city.

Gurdaspur Senior Superintendent of Police Rajjit Singh said in a statement that the assailant, Inderpal Singh, was arrested, but three others involved in the incident were absconding.

Inderpal Singh, an Akali worker, is a nephew of Paramvir Singh Laadi, president of the Gurdaspur unit of the Youth Akali Dal. But Mr. Laadi told reporters that he did not enjoy cordial relations with Inderpal, who has been remanded in judicial custody by a local magistrate.

The local media reported that Inderpal Singh entered into altercation with constable Gurnam Singh, who signalled his vehicle to stop as it took the wrong side and hit another car. Inderpal Singh and his associate, who drove the vehicle, assaulted him and tore his uniform.

Inderpal Singh is said to have snapped at the constable, asking him whether the police had forgotten their lessons from the Amritsar incident, in which an ASI was shot to death by a former Akali leader. The constable filed a formal complaint.

Meanwhile, Inderpal Singh’s father Gurcharanjit Singh and some human rights activists alleged at a press conference that a case was foisted on him, as Inderpal was the main witness to the incident in which a local youth, Jaspal Singh, was killed in police firing during protests that erupted after the death sentence awarded to Balwant Singh Rajoana in the Beant Singh assassination case. So far, three key witnesses had turned hostile, they said.

In the meantime, the Akali Dal launched a damage-control exercise, as its core committee, meeting on Saturday evening, decided to carry out a thorough screening of the office-bearers at all levels of the organisation. The meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, wanted that inputs be sought from the police intelligence to spot possible troublemakers.

In what appears to be an attempt at instilling discipline in their ranks, the police suspended another IPS officer, Paramraj Singh Umranangal, who was posted as DIG in the border range. Recently, three officers in the rank of Superintendent of Police from the same range were suspended.

Though the reason has not been mentioned, a government statement said Mr. Umranangal had not been discharging his duties efficiently and had created indiscipline. He was asked to report to the office of the Director-General of Police in Chandigarh during the period of his suspension.

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