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Shiv Sena leader shot dead in Amritsar

Shiv Sena leader Sudhir Suri

Chandigarh: Firebrand Shiv Sena Hindustan president Sudhir Suri was shot dead on Friday evening in Amritsar outside a temple in the presence of Punjab police personnel.

The attacker fired six shots at Suri from a rooftop and was caught by Shiv Sainiks. He was thrashed by people before being handed over to the police. He has been identified as Sandeep Singh.

Suri along with his supporters was protesting against the management of a temple as broken idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses were found strewn in the garbage incurring the wrath of Shiv Sainiks.

The demonstrators were under the cover of police personnel but the attacker went up to the roof of an adjoining building and fired at Suri.

Suri had been a staunch critic of Khalistanis, challenging them to come near him. “You are only 2 percent in strength and we will maul you,”  he once thundered on social media in a video. He later clarified that he was not referring to the total population of Sikhs in India but meant that Khalistanis were not more than 2 percent of the Sikh population.

Suri had been a source of strength for Hindus living in Amritsar as he always told them not to be afraid of terrorists instilling a fighting spirit in his followers.

He had written to the Punjab government a few months ago demanding a bulletproof vehicle but he was told to buy one at his expense as the government had no money for the purpose. He had official security for a long time given by successive governments.

During one of his visits to Gurdaspur, an unsuccessful attempt was made to attack him in the main market but the police later denied that the gunshot was aimed at him.

The background of the killer Sandeep Singh was not immediately known.

The killing, comes merely months after the murder, in May, of another prominent person with police security — singer Sidhu Moosewala — raising questions over law and order under Bhagwant Mann’s Aam Aadmi Party that came to power in March.

BJP leader Tejinder Singh Bagga of Delhi termed it a failure of AAP government in Punjab. He sought the resignation of CM Bhagwant Mann on account of the law and order situation.