Ludhiana: Police in Punjab on July 30 let off two suspects for a pastor’s murder two days after they were rounded up.
Sources in the police told The Times of India the two Christian youths were rounded up in connection with the murder of Pastor Sultan Masih. The 53-year-old was talking on the phone outside the church in Salem Tabri when two motorcycle-borne assailants shot him dead on July 14.
The police rounded up the two from near the church in Peeru Banda, Salem Tabri. However, after quizzing, the investigators couldn’t get cogent proof, besides there were protests by Christian community members.
The police also said they have rounded up some suspects from outside Ludhiana district and questioning them.
Cops said 17 suspects had been rounded up so far, besides raids were being conducted in Meherban, Lalton and Hassanpur. The police had picked up suspects from Muktsar, Mohali and Faridkot, but their questioning didn’t yield much.
On the other hand, Ludhiana police commissioner Rajendra Dhoke said they have got leads in the case and were working on exclusion theory of various angles. The case would be solved soon, he added.
Meanwhile, Christian community leaders said the priests across Ludhiana and other areas were scared.
“We will be holding a meeting in first week of August to chalk out future course of action and discuss the scenario emerging after the pastor’s murder,” said Albert Dua, chairman of Christian United Federation and member of Punjab state minorities’ commission. He said the community has already extended full cooperation to the police.
“I talked to the family of the deceased on Saturday and they also said they were cooperating with the police,” he added.
The case diary:
July 14: Pastor Sultan Masih gunned down by two motorcycle-borne miscreants
July 15: Christians block National Highway 1 to protest against the killing
July 17: Police directed to check over 100 CCTV cameras installed in Peeru Banda Mohalla, Salem Tabri
July 18: Director General of police Suresh Arora visits the pastor’s family, examines the crime spot
July 19: Police round up six people for questioning
July 21: Police trace the administrator of Facebook page ‘No conversion.’ A Ludhiana resident, who had commented on the page, questioned