Punjab Police had also claimed to have bust a racket of targeted attacks on five Hindu leaders in Punjab from 2016 and 2017 by Khalistani militants. (Representational image)
Leader of a Hindu outfit, Shivsena Hindustan, was injured, while his friend was killed when two unidentified persons opened fire at them in Dhariwal town of Gurdaspur district on Monday evening.
Honey Mahajan (29), the president of Shivsena Hindustan’s youth wing, was hit by three bullets in his legs, while another bullet hit his friend, Ashok Kumar (25), in the head.
“It seems that Honey was the main target, but Ashok Kumar could also have been one of the targets. Everything is under investigation. We haven’t arrested anyone yet,” said Gurdarpur SP Harvinder Singh. The incident took place at 7 pm when both were sitting outside their neighouring shops at Dadwan road in Dhariwal. Mahajan was a scrap dealer, while Kumar ran a groceries shop.
Mahajan, whose security had been allegedly removed eight months back, was referred to a private hospital in Amritsar after first aid in Gurdaspur. He is out of danger. Ashok Kumar, who was not associated with Shivsena Hindustan, died on the spot.
Shivsena Hindustan leader Rohit Manine called the attack a terror act. “Two unidentified persons came in Swift car outside the shop of Honey Mahajan. First they pretended to clean the car. Then suddenly, they opened fire. Honey Mahajan ran inside his shop for cover. Bullets hit his legs. Ashok Kumar got the bullet in his head and died on the spot,” claimed Rohit.
He added, “Honey Mahajan often speaks out against terrorists. We had information that Honey Mahajan was on the continued on page 2 Hindu outfit leader injured in firing in Gurdaspur, one dead hitlist of terrorists. Some unidentified persons were found following him recently. We had informed local police. Our state president meets DGP every month and presents the list of our leaders whose life is in danger. Honey Mahajan’s name was also on that list.”
Rohit claimed that Mahajan had a security cover till 2017. “Honey Mahajan had security of one ASI and five gunmen till 2017. Security was removed gradually. Eight months back he was left with only one gunman and then that too was removed. He was without security during all these months. Doctors have told us that he is out of danger now,” said Rohit.
Honey Mahajan also has cases pending against him over a scuffle with local politicians. While police said that they would probe if those cases had anything to do with the attack, Rohit Manine claimed the cases only related to a minor scuffle.
“The scuffle with local politicians is not the reason behind attack. It is a terrorist attack and activism of Honey Mahajan against terrorists is main reason behind the attack,” he said.
Not the first attack
This is not the first attack on the leader of a Hindu outfit in the state in the recent past. Shiv Sena (Bal Thakare) leader Ajay Kumar was shot dead in Gurdaspur in April last year. While his party had claimed that it was a terrorist attack, police probe had hinted at personal enmity. In 2018, Amritsar had witnessed murder of Hindu leader Vipin Sharma carried out allegedly by gangsters.
Punjab Police had also claimed to have bust a racket of targeted attacks on five Hindu leaders in Punjab from 2016 and 2017 by Khalistani militants. They had arrested UK national Jagtar Singh Johal as the alleged kingpin behind these attacks.