Punjab: One cop killed, 2 hurt as farmer opens fire at police party

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By: Express News Service | Ludhiana | Published: June 9, 2020 11:34:40 pm

Gurwinder Singh stands with his weapon before opening fire at cops (Screen grab)

One policeman was killed and two injured after a farmer started firing indiscriminately at the police party at Khosa Pando village of Moga Monday late. In an operation that went on for over eight hours till 4 am Tuesday, the farmer too was injured in cross-firing.

A police team from Moga Sadar police station had gone to the haveli (residence) of Gurwinder Singh, 35, after receiving a complaint from his paternal uncle Baldev Singh who alleged that his nephew had set his storeroom of straw (toori) on fire.

Sub-Inspector Karamjeet Singh, SHO of Moga Sadar police station, said that when they reached Gurwinder’s residence to sort out the matter, he was standing on the rooftop with his father’s 12 bore single-barrel gun in his hands and started hurling abuse. Efforts were made to counsel him and bring him down but he started threatening to open fire at the police party, following which senior officers were informed and more force was called on the spot.

However, the situation went out of control around 10.30 pm when Gurwinder allegedly opened fire at the cops and constable Jagmohan Singh, who suffered a bullet injury in his chest, died. The accused allegedly also did not let the cops evacuate the seriously injured constable and kept firing. By the time constable Jagmohan Singh was taken out, he had died. The injured constable could be taken out from there only after police cross-fired, said Sub-Inspector Karamjeet Singh. In the meantime, two more policemen — CIA Inspector Tarlochan Singh and Head Constable Vedam Singh — suffered bullet injuries in alleged firing by Gurwinder. As the police cross-fired, Gurwinder was injured as well. Moga police sources said that at least 60-70 rounds of firing took place.

Gurwinder’s mother Sukhminder Kaur was inside the haveli at the time of the incident. He is unmarried. Police said that on Monday, Gurwinder allegedly also had a clash with his father Sukhdev Singh and two sisters, following which they had left home and had gone to Sukhdev’s sister’s place at Patto Heera Singh village. Gurwinder had allegedly snatched his father’s weapon which he used in the crime, police said.

Finally, around 4 am on Tuesday, Gurwinder allegedly tried to run away in his Tata Safari vehicle even as policemen kept surrounding his haveli. He managed to escape in his vehicle with his mother Sukhminder Kaur seated along even as the police fired. He finally landed at Pandori Khatrian village of Ferozepur where he told locals that he met with a road accident and even called 108 ambulance. He was admitted to Moga Civil Hospital and was later traced by Moga police.

Sub-Inspector Karamjeet Singh, SHO of Moga Sadar police station said, “It all started around 6.30 pm when we received the complaint and started probing. I along with ASI Boota Singh and four others in our team reached the village after receiving a complaint from Baldev Singh that his nephew Gurwinder Singh has set his straw storeroom on fire. Gurwinder was on the roof with a weapon and when he saw us, he started hurling abuse. We were downstairs and kept asking him to come down. He kept threatening to open fire at us and then we called panchayat members. We tried to control the situation but when he kept pointing his 12 bore single barrel gun at us, we informed senior officials. Then a second batch of policemen came, including CIA incharge-1 Inspector Tarlochan Singh and CIA incharge 2 Inspector Kikar Singh.”

“He still did not listen to anyone and then the senior officers, including SP (D) Harinderpal Singh Parmar, DSP (city) Barjinder Singh and DSP (D) Jangjit Singh also reached with more force. Gurwinder still kept shouting that if any policeman came near him, he would open fire and kill them,” the SHO said.

“Around 10 pm, he opened fire at us and constable Jagmohan Singh was injured in the chest. He was still apparently breathing but Gurwinder did not let us pick him. It was only after we cross-fired that we could lift Jagmohan from there. But he had died. He was taken to hospital but he was declared dead on arrival. CIA Inspector Tarlochan Singh and head constable Vedam Singh also got bullet injuries. Gurwinder was also injured in cross-fire,” the SHO said.

He added that around 4 am in morning, Gurwinder with his mother seated along, gate crashed his haveli from inside and fled in his Tata Safari vehicle. “We again fired to stop him but he fled. He reached the village Pandori Khatrian of Ferozepur and told locals that he met with a road accident. He himself called 108 ambulance and got admitted at Civil Hospital Moga,” the SHO said.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Moga DSP (investigation) Jangjit Singh said that he had reached the spot after the team from Sadar police station and later the CIA cops failed to convince Gurwinder to come down and talk. “Gurwinder kept abusing police, wasn’t cooperating and we even offered to sort out everything with his uncle but he kept flashing his weapon. His and his uncle’s fields are adjoining and he was roaming inside his haveli on the rooftop. Police opened fire at him only after he opened fire at the team when we were trying to convince him and a bullet straightaway hit constable Jagmohan Singh. He got a bullet in his chest but even then Gurwinder did not let us pick him up. Then our force tried to enter inside and overpower him and then two other cops got injured. He also got injured in cross-fire from our side. Constable Jagmohan Singh was taken to hospital around 2 am but he had died.”

An FIR against Gurwinder was registered under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from his duty) and 186 (obstructing public servant from discharge of duty) of the IPC and sections 25, 27, 54, 59 of the Arms Act.

Both injured cops — Head Constable Vedam Singh and Inspector Tarlochan Singh — were admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana. Vedam Singh underwent a surgery as he received bullet injuries in his stomach. Tarlochan Singh got injured in hand. Both were in stable condition till filing of this report. Gurwinder Singh was referred to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot. He suffered three bullet injuries and is stable.

Kaustubh Sharma, IG Faridkot range, who visited the spot, said, “Our team tried to negotiate with Gurwinder Singh and even asked him to surrender, but he did not cooperate and kept firing. Gurwinder owns 17 acres of land and had a dispute with his family members, including uncle who had complained to us. He was not even letting police to pick up seriously injured constable Jagmohan Singh from the spot and he died subsequently. Exact number of rounds fired will be clear only after a forensic probe. Moga SP (investigation) and DSP (investigation) also reached here along with CIA Inspectors. They all tried to speak to Gurwinder and tried to convince him to surrender and that they would not use weapons but he did not listen. He again threatened to open fire. He then started firing at police, constable Jagmohan Singh fell on a shed with a bullet in his chest and died.”

The deceased constable Jagmohan Singh was from village Manuke of Moga. He is an ex-serviceman and joined Punjab Police after his retirement from Army. He is survived by wife and three children- two daughters and a son.

In a statement, Moga SSP Harmanbir Singh Gill said, “A constable was killed in firing incident at Khosa Pando village under Moga Sadar police station and one person has been arrested. A complaint was received on June 8 at 7.30 pm from Baldev Singh who said that his nephew Gurwinder Singh has set his rooftop room on fire. Duty officer ASI Boota Singh reached there but he did not open the door. Gurwinder stood on rooftop and threatened to open fire with 12 bore gun. SHO Karamjeet Singh reached the spot with more force but accused opened fire at them. More force, including CIA staff and SP (investigation) and DSPs were sent to defuse the situation. While officers were trying to pacify the accused, he opened fire at constable Jagmohan Singh who fell down. Two others received injuries. It was not sure whether Jagmohan was dead or alive and his body was removed from spot by giving cover from other side. But he had died. Around 4 am Tuesday, accused gate crashed his house in his vehicle. Police party fired in defence and he got injured. Thereaftter he reached village Pandori Khatrian and tried to convince locals that he met with accident. 108 ambulance was called and he was shifted to Civil Hospital Moga.”

The police recovered his abandoned vehicle and gun used in the crime.
Moga SSP Harmanbir Singh Gill claimed that the police exercised restraint because Sukhminder Singh, mother of accused, was also inside home when he opened fire at cops. “We did not want to harm 65-year-old woman in anyway so we had to exercise restraint. Also when Gurwinder ran away in his vehicle, he made his mother sit in the front seat. So we tried to burst tyres of vehicle instead of targeting him. But he did not listen to SHO who kept pleading with him to come down and talk. He just kept abusing and threatening police.”

Constable Jagmohan Singh (45) was cremated with full state honors. “After serving Army for 19 years, he had joined Punjab Police in 2011 under ex-servicemen quota. He was cremated with full state honors,” the SSP said.

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