Despite protection from the Punjab police, the family of Ravinderpal Singh has serious concerns about their safety, fearing retaliation from the other associates of the former Akali leader, Ranjit Singh Rana, who has been arrested, along with three others, for killing Singh, a police officer, at Chheharta in Amritsar on December 5 after he protested the harassment of his daughter.

The accused have been remanded in police custody till December 10.

Ravinderpal Singh’s son Navpreet Singh, who flew back from Australia for the cremation of his father on Friday, expressed concerns at the security of his sister, who was continuously harassed by Rana and his associates. The lives of both his sister and mother would be imperilled as they fought a legal battle. He sought a speedy trial. At the same time, he was happy that the State government had offered his sister a job of sub-inspector.

In an interview to a television channel at a hospital, where he was admitted with injuries, Rana regretted the incident. He said one of his associates, Gurbir Singh alias Bira, a son of a head constable, wanted to talk to the girl. When she spurned him, Bira became abusive and was engaged in a heated argument with her. Rana said he intervened and resolved the matter after which Ravinderpal Singh reached the spot. The officer fired at them first, and he retaliated. When he ran out of bullets, he left the spot and returned with a rifle with which he shot at Ravinderpal.

Talking to the same channel, Ashwani Kumar, who was dismissed as SHO of the Chheharta station for not responding to phone calls for help, denied that Ravinderpal Singh called him up. He sought an analysis of his call record. He also denied having received any written complaint from the girl on December 1, though he admitted that she had verbally complained to him, and he sent a wireless message about the vehicle used by the accused.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s estranged nephew, Manpreet Singh Badal, who heads the People’s Party of Punjab, visited the family of the murdered police officer at their Rampura village. He said the incident had once again established that the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal was a safe haven for criminals and anti-social elements, who were stifling every honest voice in the party.

Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal termed the dismissal of the SHO an eyewash. His party would submit a memorandum to the Governor, seeking a judicial probe into the incident.