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Rahul meets families of youth killed in police firing

Rahul Gandhi

Faridkot (Punjab) : Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today met the families of the two youth killed in police firing during a protest against a sacrilege incident in the district last month.

Rahul, who arrived by train early this morning,     spent some 30 minutes with the family of Gurjit Singh, a motor mechanic killed during the protests, Congress leader Kulwant Rai Singla said.

The Gandhi scion shared his grief with the family and sought details about the incident.

Later, Rahul walked for about seven km to reach the house of another deceased youth Krishan Singh at nearby Niamiwala village.

Rahul consoled the family members and expressed grief over what happened at Behbal Kalan village where the two persons were killed in police firing on protesters staging a demonstration against sacrilege at Bargari village on October 14.

Police drew flak for the firing on the protesters. The state government later set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident and booked “unknown” police officials under charges of murder and Arms Act.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with the families, Rahul hit out at the SAD and said everyone’s future in Punjab is “bleak” under their rule.

“I can’t see anyone’s future here (Punjab). Punjab is in crisis… Farmers have problems here…drugs is a big problem,” he said.

“Earlier, when I had said that there is a problem of drugs in Punjab then people had made fun of me”, he recalled.

The Congress Vice President told the local party leaders accompanying him, “We have to be together. Punjab Congress will fight the 2017 Assembly polls as one unit.”

Earlier on his way from Sarawan to Niamiwala village, Rahul met students of Government Primary School at Guru Shar village and exchanged pleasantries with the young ones

Later, Rahul spent some time in a dharamshala of village Guru Shar and interacted with locals over a cup of tea.The villagers shared their problems with Rahul. Rahul gave a patient hearing to the village folk.

During his padyatra between the two villages, the Congress Vice President was accompanied by the two feuding party leaders in Punjab – Amritsar MP Amarinder Singh and state Congress chief Partap Bajwa.

This is the first time since Rahul’s post-Lok Sabha visit to Chandigarh last year in October that both Amarinder and Bajwa have put up a united face. The show of solidarity comes as the party gears up for the 2017 Assembly elections.

Congress leaders Sunil Kumar Jakhar, Vijay Inder Singla and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, AICC General Secretary Shakeel Ahmad, party MPs Deepinder Singh Hooda and Ravnit Singh Bittu also accompanied Rahul.

During his two-day visit to the state, Rahul is also expected to meet farmers in Bathinda district besides families of the 1984 riot victims.

The Congress Vice President’s visit to the state comes at a time when the state has witnessed protests over incidents of sacrilege.

Hardliners and Sikhs owing allegiance to different organisations have sought exemplary punishment for the cops involved in the firing incident.

Bargari was the epicentre of the Sikhs’ protests against the incidents of sacrilege of the holy book in the state.

Police have so far arrested over seven persons, including two brothers Rupinder Singh and Jaswinder Singh, for their alleged involvement in the acts of sacrilege.

However, all the arrested persons were later released due to lack of evidence against them.

Rahul had earlier visited Punjab in April. He had then visited three grain markets of the state, including Asia’s largest grain market in Khanna.

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