Man killed in police firing as Shiv Sena bandh turns violent

Curfew was imposed on Thursday in Gurdaspur, where communal clashes led to police firing that left at least one dead and two others injured. Flag marches were held in different parts of the border city in Punjab.The clashes broke out when Shiv Sena activists forced shopkeepers to down the shutters and members of one community offered resistance. The Sena had called a bandh in Gurdaspur to protest against registration of cases against 14 youths following a clash with activists of Sikh organisations which had forced a bandh on Wednesday to express their solidarity with death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana.

On Thursday, to disperse the clashing groups at Hanuman chowk, the police resorted to cane charge, lobbed teargas shells and finally opened fire. Jaspal Singh of Sidhwan village died of bullet wounds. Gurdaspur district Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Singh Kainth said a videographed post mortem was conducted in the presence of Jaspal's kin but it could not yet be confirmed whether he died in police firing.

Probe ordered

A magisterial probe was ordered, Mr. Kainth told The Hindu over telephone. A Special Investigating Team under the DIG (border range) was also constituted.

While the city was still tense, authorities claimed complete control over the situation.

Pradesh Congress president Amarinder Singh, while appealing to the people to maintain the peace and communal harmony at all costs, advised the police to exercise restraint in dealing with the protesters. He said the events did not augur well for the State as “this government [SAD-BJP coalition] is proving very ineffective in maintaining the peace.”

Condemning the incidents, the radical Sikh organisation, Dal Khalsa, accused the police of opening fire on a group of Sikhs who had gathered outside a gurdwara.