No arrests have been made in any of these cases; assailants adopt similar modus operandi; all murders have taken place in and around Ludhiana.
Chandigarh: The cold-blooded murder of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Ludhiana Tuesday morning comes as a chilling reminder for the Punjab Police that at least six similar cases remain unsolved.
The killers involved in all these cases are still at large. The CBI that is investigating some of these cases remains clueless as well.
The modus operandi in most of these cases is so similar that to the layman, they seem like the handiwork of the same set of persons. Most of these murders have taken place in or around Ludhiana. Assailants are masked and on a motorcycle. In some cases, the weapon/s used are of the same kind and bore. In others, the killers have been caught on CCTV cameras.
However, in none of these cases, the police have been able to recover anything. Neither have they been able to zero in on any specific local gang or a terrorist organisation. The killers have not been identified; the vehicles or weapons have not been found. The murderers, it seems, have committed perfect crimes, leaving no trace.
“These are related incidents and remain our biggest challenge. But the luck of the killers is going to run out soon,” said Punjab DGP Suresh Arora. “Normally, we are able to follow clues provided by eyewitnesses or we find specific motives which lead us to the person who benefits from the killing. We also get vital clues from phone calls, but in these cases there is no call which can be traced.”
“They (the killers) are obviously using social media calling apps, which are a blind area for the police. Also, no terror agency or gang has claimed responsibility for these murders.”
The motive in all these cases is clear: target peace and create communal tension. The victim belongs to either a Right-wing Hindu group, a dera or another religion.
Gosain, 58, was the mandal pradhan of the BJP and a mukhya shikshak of an RSS shakha for many years. He had just returned from his shakha and was feeding stray dogs outside his house in Basti Jodhewal when he was accosted and gunned down by masked men on a yellow motorcycle. He died on the spot. The police have concluded that two weapons were used to kill him — .32 and .30-bore revolvers.
The series of killings began last year. Here’s a quick recap:
* April 2016: Mata Chand Kaur (88), the matriarch of the prominent Namdhari sect, was killed outside the sect headquarters at Bhaini Sahib, near Ludhiana. The CBI took over the investigation but there has been no headway.
* Within days of this murder, Durga Prasad Gupta, head of the labour wing of the Punjab Shiv Sena was shot dead in Khanna, Ludhiana.
* August: Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd), second-in-command of the RSS in Punjab, was shot at in a market in Jalandhar market. Gagneja succumbed to bullet injuries in hospital. CBI is probing the case.
* January 2017: Amit Sharma, 35, publicity manager of Sri Hindu Takht, was gunned down by motorcycle-borne assailants in Ludhiana. Killers were said to have used a 7.65-bore pistol.
* Twin bomb blasts in Maur Mandi in Bathinda in January this year remains unsolved too. Congress candidate Harminder Singh Jassi — a relative of the Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim — was the target and barely escaped death. The blast claimed six lives.
* February: Father-son duo, Satpal and Ramesh, both followers of Dera Sacha Sauda, were murdered in Khanna near Ludhiana by two assailants. The killing was captured on CCTV camera and cartridges of .32-bore revolver were recovered from the spot.
* July: Sultan Masih, the pastor of a local church in Ludhiana, was shot outside his house in Salem Tabri by two unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle. The murder was captured on a CCTV camera.