Amritsar shop owner held for Sena leader’s murder a ‘radicalised lone wolf’, suspect cops

Chandigarh: Amritsar’s resident Sandeep Singh was detained by the Punjab Police for the murder of Sudhir Suri, leader of Shiv Sena (Taksali), and the police are still trying to determine if there is any link between Singh or Khalistani terror organizations.

Police, however, suspect that Sandeep was highly radicalised and “could have been” influenced by the recent utterances of Khalistan ideologue Amritpal Singh.

Sandeep Singh alias ‘Sunny’ was arrested from the crime scene Friday and the licensed weapon he allegedly used to kill Suri recovered from him at the time of his arrest. Saturday’s local court remanded the 32-year-old to police custody for seven consecutive days.

Meanwhile, Amritpal Singh, who was to address a ‘nagar kirtan’ (prayer ceremony) in Jalandhar Saturday was stopped by police at Singhapura village in Moga in a bid to avoid any untoward incident. Talking to reporters, Amritpal denied any role in Suri’s murder and said there was nothing unusual about a sticker of his rally being found on Sandeep’s car.

Though police officers remained tight-lipped about what happened during Sandeep’s interrogation, highly-placed sources in the force said that he might have been a “lone wolf” and the attack a “self-motivated” act. Police sources claim that they have not yet found any record of Sandeep in their files, but they rule out any link between him and terror groups. 

He is married with two children, one of whom is a newborn.

Sources in police said that Sandeep owned a garment shop near Suri’s death. He also has a brother who owns a shop in Amritsar, and his family owns five other garment shops.

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Connecting the dots

Retracing his steps on the day of the incident, police said there was no change in Sandeep’s routine Friday morning. He opened his shop, went about his business as usual, and even sent a consignment to be delivered. 

Only after Sandeep saw Suri’s protestors in the market near his shop that he returned inside to retrieve his license weapon and shoot Suri.

According to police sources, investigators believe that Sandeep could have been influenced by Amritpal Singh, the 29-year-old who was appointed the head of a faction of ‘Waris Punjab de’ — an outfit founded by actor-turned-Khalistan ideologue late Deep Sidhu — earlier this year.

Sources say that at least one Instagram video was posted by Sandeep last week. The same account was used for posting clips of speeches by Deep Sidhu or Amritpal.

Amritpal Singh, who has been traveling to Punjabi villages for the past month, has made objectionable speeches and participated in gatherings, as well as openly advocating Khalistan.  

Meanwhile, Suri’s family refused to cremate his body Saturday, demanding that he be declared a ‘martyr’. Speaking to reporters outside his home, Suri’s relatives demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other central agency probe the killing. 

In addition to Amritpal’s arrest, they also sought security for the family and action against police officers who were unable to save Suri. 

His son told reporters that Suri received ‘threatening calls’ from someone in the UK the day before his murder and that other members of the family continue to receive such calls.

(Edited and authored by Amrtansh Anrora)

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