Malerkotla: 22-year-old killed in ‘crossfire’, kin allege fake encounter

Cops are facing allegations of fake encounter after a 22-year-old man was shot dead in purported crossfire between the police and some alleged gangsters at Jitwal village in Malerkotla on Wednesday night. The police started a probe and acknowledged that the victim, factory worker Bikramjit Singh, had no criminal record.
The villagers put up a dharna that was lifted after assurances of action against the killers and compensation. Earlier, the protesters accused the station house office of Sandhour area, Kulwant Kaur, of having shot the man, but she said, “We had reached the village on a tip-off, and this man was standing with the gangsters. In the crossfire, he got shot.”
The victim’s father, Raghvir Singh, who runs a cycle repair kiosk, said, “My son was at a path (prayer) at the gurdwara for sewa (volunteer service), from where SHO Kulwant Kaur took him away and shot him twice. There was no blood in the village, which proves that he was killed somewhere else, not during any encounter.”
Raminder Singh, superintendent of police (SP), Malerkotla, told HT: “The gangsters were in a house, and when they started firing at the police, an encounter took place. The man (who was killed) was near that house. Although he had no criminal record, we have failed to figure out why he was there. We are investigating the matter and action will be taken after that.” Three persons were arrested in the encounter, police said.
The cops had reached the village around 11.30pm. The main gangster on police radar was Gahia Khan, who got away. Residents said the police did not inform even the sarpanch or the chowkidar (watchman).
At the dharna outside the town’s police station, some leaders from the Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party, besides police officers, pacified the protesters for now.

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