Two bike-borne youths were allegedly run over by a man in an SUV after a clash over sale of liquor in Punjab’s Dera Baba Nanak, a town 36km from district headquarters Gurdaspur, on Tuesday afternoon. It led to a mob torching a liquor vend and two SUVs of the contractor. Police later booked four unidentified person on charges of murder.
While police did not divulge details, witnesses told HT that fisticuffs ensued in the town’s main market after Subegh Singh and Sanjeev Kumar, who had contested the municipal polls from Congress in 2013, were “caught” by a local liquor contractor’s employee over bringing liquor from nearby town Ramdas to sell here. But the two men assaulted the contractor’s man, identified only as Billa, near the bus stand before he drove away in an SUV, it is further learnt. As the duo chased him on a bike, he turned around near Fatehgarh Churian Chowk, and started chasing them instead; and crushed them under his SUV a few metres ahead, said witnesses who did not want to be identified.
After their death on the spot, their family and friends rushed to a liquor vend just in front of the local police station and pelted it with stones before setting it afire along with two SUVs. They also thrashed another of the contractor’s employees, Sunny, who was admitted to the civil hospital later. Though the mob fury unfolded in front of the police station, it took more than two hours for the cops to calm the situation.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Opinder Singh Ghuman later said, “On the statements of the victims’ family members, we have registered a case under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against four unidentified persons. The situation is totally under control now. We are investigating the case from various angles. All employees of the liquor contractor are absconding. Some hideouts have been identified and teams dispatched.”
As the town remained on the edge, local MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa of the Congress appealed for peace.