Taking a strong note of a pastor’s killing in Ludhiana last night, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today directed the police to crack down on elements trying to whip up communal passions in the state and announced a government job to the deceased’s son. He directed Punjab DGP Suresh Arora to ensure that various departments of police and the intelligence agencies in the state coordinate with each other to prevent recurrence of such incidents, an official spokesperson said. The Chief Minister asked Arora to ensure that necessary steps are taken to maintain law and order and peace and harmony in the state. Attempts to vitiate the state’s environment would not be tolerated at any cost, Amarinder said, while warning of strict action against any police officer found guilty of dereliction of duty.
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Following the murder of pastor Sultan Masih by two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants outside a chruch in Ludhiana, the Chief Minister asked the police department to keep a close tab on the situation to prevent any negative fallout. He also directed the DGP to ask field officers to coordinate with the local Christian leaders for support in defusing the situation resulting from the killing. Earlier in the day, a large number of people belonging to the Christian community took out a protest march against the killing of the pastor and blocked the GT road in Slem Tabri area here for over three hours.
Later, Amarinder called up the family of Masih to convey his condolences and promised strong action against the culprits. He assured Masih’s widow Sarabjit Kaur of all possible help. He told her that her 18-year-old son Alisha would be provided a job in the police department, the spokesperson said. Amarinder also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for Kaur. The Chief Minister assured her that the killers of her husband would be tracked down by the police and brought to book. Earlier today, Amarinder said that he had taken up with the prime minister the matter of expediting CBI probe into cases of other targeted killings, including those of RSS and Shiv Sena leaders which had been taking place in Punjab since January 2016.
At his meeting with the prime minister in Delhi on July 11, he had said that despite their best efforts, the central and the state police and intelligence agencies had failed to make a breakthrough in these cases. In August last year, senior RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja (65) was shot at in Jalandhar by unidentified assailants. He later died at a hospital in September. In April this year, Punjab RSS chief Brij Bhushan Singh Bedi had demanded that the state government ask the CBI to expedite its probe into Gagneja’s killing.