Amritsar: A local Shiromani Akali Dal leader, Ranjit Singh Rana, has been arrested for allegedly shooting dead a Punjab police officer who had protested against his daughter being harassed by the politician and his associates.
Police also arrested two of Mr Rana's aides and seized three weapons from them.
Mr Rana, the general secretary of the Akali Dal's Amritsar district unit, is alleged to have shot at Assistant Sub-Inspector Ravinderpal Singh in full public view in Amritsar's Chehertha locality on Wednesday. The officer was rushed to hospital with heavy bleeding and declared dead. Mr Rana was expelled by his party this morning.
Ravinderpal Singh's daughter, who is a bank employee, had reportedly complained to him that Mr Rana and his associates frequently harassed her. Amritsar Police Commissioner Ram Singh said she told her father that Mr Rana and his men would stop her on her way to office and pass lewd comments.
When the officer, along with his daughter, went to Mr Rana's house to warn him, the politician allegedly shot him in the legs. His daughter too suffered bullet wounds in her hand.
On the way to hospital, Mr Singh was waylaid by Mr Rana, who allegedly shot him in the chest from close range this time. Eyewitnesses said they phoned the local police several times, but the cops did not reach on time.
The murder has sparked off widespread anger in Amritsar. "These men came and kept firing, but there were no policemen around. Such hooliganism has to stop," said a resident.
Another said: "If anybody can come and shoot a policeman, how can people be safe?"
Police Commissioner Ram Singh said Mr Rana was arrested from the border belt of Amritsar district and had been stalking the police officer's daughter for the last few days.
U S Sandhu, chief of the Akali Dal's Amritsar district unit, said Mr Rana was inducted into the party in September.
The Supreme Court recently took a zero-tolerance stance on eve-teasing and instructed all states to take measures to protect women, such as deploying women police officers in plainclothes, putting up closed-circuit cameras and setting up helplines.
"Eve-teasing today has become a pernicious, horrid and disgusting practice. More and more girls and women go to educational institutions, workplaces etc and their protection is of extreme importance. The experiences of women and girls in overcrowded buses, metros, trains etc are horrendous and a painful ordeal," the court said.
(With inputs from agencies)