Ludhiana: Acritically injured Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja, vice-president of the Punjab unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), was shifted to Hero DMCH Heart Institute at around 2:25 pm today. The leader was shot at near Jyoti Chowk in Jalandhar late last evening.
A day later, Punjab police are now probing a possible terror angle in the attack. The cops have zeroed in on two motorcycle-borne Sikh men as suspects. An 11-minute CCTV footage seized by the cops from a nearby shop shows two men with their faces covered slowing down their bike near an electronics shop at Jyoti Chowk in Jalandhar around 8.14 PM. The RSS leader was shot hardly 200 metres away from this shop. Even eyewitnesses had corroborated the fact that two motorcycle-borne men had pumped bullets into Gagneja, who was shifted from Jalandhar's Patel Hospital to Ludhiana's Dayanand Medical College and Hospital on Sunday.
Jalandhar police have recovered five shells – four of .32 bore weapon and one 9 mm pistol – from the spot. What made cops explore the terror angle is the presence of mm weapon, which is prohibited for general public. Other than police, it is used only by armed forces or terrorists.
Moreover, a 9 mm weapon was used by two unidentified miscreants to fire at organiser of the RSS Shakha in Ludhiana on January 18 this year. The shells recovered by Jalandhar police were sent to the forensic laboratory on Sunday. Gagneja had sustained multiple gunshot injuries on stomach, small and large intestine and chest. "Nothing can be ruled out, whether they were terrorists or not. We are trying to find out everything from call details and CCTV footage," said Jalandhar commissioner Arpit Shukla.
One of the reasons that Punjab government was not sure whether the incident was a local crime or terror attack was the recent history of attacks on Shiv Sena leaders. "Which is why the state's counter-intelligence wing has been involved," said a senior cop.
Earlier in the day, IG (counter intelligence) Nilabh Kishore, DGP (law and order) Hardeep Dhillon and ADGP (crime) Iqbal Preet Sahota rushed to the spot to examine witnesses and retrace route of the bikers' movements through a three-kilometre stretch.
On April 23, a Shiv Sena leader was shot and killed in Khanna, 50 km from Ludhiana. Then on July 22, a violent clash had taken place at Phagwara between Shiv Sena activists on one side and Muslims, Sikhs and Dalits on the other after Sena activists attacked the Muslims.