Chandigarh: Harjinder Singh Johal, the president of the Bathinda Mall Road Shopkeepers Association, met a tragic end on October 28th when he was shot outside his “Amritsari Kulcha” store in Bathinda. The assailants, riding a motorcycle, opened fire on Johal while he was seated outside his shop, engrossed in his cellphone. The entire horrifying incident was captured on a nearby store's surveillance camera.
One of the attackers dismounted from the motorcycle and fired multiple rounds at Johal before making a quick getaway. Johal, critically injured, was first rushed to a government hospital in Bathinda but was later transferred to Max Hospital due to the severity of his wounds. Despite efforts to save him, he tragically passed away. The crime scene yielded six bullets, suggesting the potential use of a 9mm firearm in the assault.
The distressing footage shows Johal writhing in pain as he informs bystanders about the attack. Good Samaritans at the scene rushed to his aid as he lost consciousness.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, the president of Akali Dal (SAD), extended his condolences to Johal’s family and took aim at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab, led by Bhagwant Mann. He decried the alarming incident and said that such occurrences have become disturbingly common in Punjab under the AAP regime. Badal stressed that the entire business community is living in fear and called for swift action and the immediate arrest of those responsible for the brutal murder.
Dipu, an employee at Johal’s shop, described the moment when the attack unfolded. He explained how he was atop the shop when he heard gunshots, initially mistaking them for firecrackers. Johal's cries for help followed, and he urgently instructed Dipu to pursue the attackers. Despite giving chase, the assailants managed to escape on their motorcycle. The eyewitness attested to there being two individuals on the bike.
Shocking incident in Bathinda. Mall Road Association President Harjinder Singh Mela Ji shot dead in broad daylight. Such incidents have become common in Punjab under the Aam Aadmi Party regime. The entire trading community is in a state of fear. Shiromani Akali Dal demands an… pic.twitter.com/D0yTY7Nbe6— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) October 28, 2023
Senior Superintendent of Police Bathinda, Gulneet Singh Khurana, mentioned that Johal had not reported receiving any extortion threats or intimidating calls. The police are thoroughly examining the CCTV footage from the area to identify the culprits and uncover their possible motives for the attack.
Local shop owners have staged protests against the murder and expressed their concerns over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. In response, they have threatened to shut down their businesses in the vicinity if the perpetrators are not promptly apprehended and have demanded severe punishment for those responsible. Bharatiya Janata Party leader Roopchand Singal also criticized the AAP administration for the worsening law and order situation in Punjab.