A Shiv Sena leader was allegedly shot dead in Punjab's Gurdaspur district on Friday evening by three youths over a dispute, police said.
Ajay Thakur, 25, was about to board a bus from near a bus stand in Purana Shalla area. Three youths, who have been identified, came on a motorcycle and one of them pulled out a gun and opened fire at Thakur. He was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, the police said.
"There is no terror or any other angle behind this incident. The only thing which has come to the fore so far is that the assailants had a dispute with him over some issue," district Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Swarndeep Singh said.
Singh said the suspects who shot dead Thakur have been identified as Deep, Prince and Meeta.
An officer claimed that all the three are “known bad characters of the city”.
Thakur was accompanied by his party’s district president Varinder Singh Munna when one of the accused pulled out a firearm and shot Thakur dead from point blank range. The accused were riding a motorcycle.
Heavy police deployment was made in almost all parts of the city.
Munna claimed that 15 days ago he had met the SSP and submitted a representation “that he and other members of his party apprehended an attack on some of his party leaders”.
The SSP, however, denied that he had given a representation pertaining to an attack.
“Munna never gave an application seeking any type of attack or had sought police protection. He actually gave a representation claiming that the anecdotes of Kashmiri students staying in the city should be checked,” said the SSP.
Family members of the deceased have alleged that Thakur was facing threats to his life from the assailants, but the police failed to act on time.
In April 2015, Harvinder Soni, another member of Hindu Shiv Sena (Thakeray), was attacked in the crowded Fish Park. Immediately after the assault, the Punjab Police gave protection to many Hindu leaders.
In Gurdaspur itself, security was provided to as many as four top Hindu leaders.
The SSP denied that Thakur’s murder was related to the forthcoming polls.
“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the incident in no way is related to the polls. I have formed five teams, all which are working under my direct supervision. We have definite information about the whereabouts of all the three accused and hope to arrest them tonight,” he said.
About 15 minutes after the incident, a dozen check posts were set up by the police.
Senior officers were asked to supervise checking of vehicles. Security was particularly stringent in and around Hanuman Chowk, bus stand, railway station and the Gurdaspur-Pathankot and Gurdaspur-Amritsar national highways.