Sudhir Suri Shot Dead: In an attack caught on camera, Sudhir Suri, a Hindutva right-wing leader in Punjab, was shot dead on a busy street in Amritsar this afternoon while cops were around him. At least five shots were fired from a pistol, allegedly by a local shopkeeper, during a protest by Mr Suri of Shiv Sena Taksali, a local outfit that uses the name Shiv Sena Taksali.
The attacker – Sandeep Singh, who has been arrested – shot Mr Suri twice before he was able to reach a hospital despite having police protection. According to city police chief commissioner, Arun Pal Singh, the weapon has been seized and an investigation is underway.
According to sources, the attacker came with three others in an SUV, but they escaped.
In social media, Mr Suri was mostly known for his fiery – and allegedly communal – video messages targeted at some Sikh outfits and Khalistan supporters. As of yet, no connection has been made by the police.
A police commissioner appealed to the people not to give in to communal calls. Residents of the Sikh holy city were exchanging tense messages and conspiracy theories.
Over alleged sacrilege of idols, Mr Suri got into an argument earlier today with some men from Gopal Mandir near Majitha Road, one of the busiest places in the city. A few hours before the attack, he was live on Facebook showing some older idols “shamelessly dumped in garbage”. As he said in the video, “We will not tolerate such sacrilege, even by fellow Hindus.”
During the shooting, he was on a dharna on the street, sitting next to an associate who was firing a revolver back at the attacker.
It comes just months after the murder, in May, of another prominent figure with police security – the singer Sidhu Moosewala – which raised questions about Bhagwant Mann’s Aam Aadmi Party government.
Ashwani Sharma, Punjab BJP chief, was one of the first to react: “The law and order situation in the state has completely collapsed.”
The State Congress chief Amarinder Singh ‘Raja’ Warring tweeted: “Law and order is deteriorating and going from bad to worse. Congress condemns the murderous attack on a Shiv Sena leader in Amritsar. Political differences aside, violence is unacceptable. Culprits must be brought to justice.”
In 2016 and 2017, when the Akali Dal-BJP and the Congress were in power at different times, Sudhi Suri’s murder brings back memories of a series of murders of right-wing or religious leaders.
An RSS leader from Ludhiana, Ravinder Gosain, 60, was shot dead in October 2017, the eighth such incident in about a year. Muslim pastor Sultan Masih was shot dead in June 2017, while followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in Ludhiana, a leader of Hindu Takhat in Ludhiana, and RSS leader Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (Retd) in Jalandhar were also killed.
Numerous Hindutva outfits in Punjab use the name ‘Shiv Sena’, but have nothing to do with the Maharashtra-based party founded by Bal Thackeray.
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