Wrestler shot by trigger-happy cops

Chandigarh, Dec. 1 -- The confusion over the registration number of a car has resulted in the Haryana Police putting a question mark on a wrestler's future. The information with the police was that a gang was travelling in the Verna bearing a Punjab number.

Acting on the tip-off, the police team fired at the vehicle, which instead had the national campers, near the northern Sports Authority of India Centre in Sonepat on Wednesday night.

Junior international wrestler Gurpal Singh was shot in the back while two other national campers, Manav and Surajbir, had a narrow escape.

The cops fired five rounds, three of which hit the dashboard, while one smashed the car's taillight and another hit Gurpal. "Gurpal and the other campers had gone to Sonepat after attending the evening training session at the SAI Centre in Bahalgarh. On the way back, they were intercepted by an armed Haryana Police team in plain clothes.

"Without disclosing their identity, they asked the trio to step out of the car. Thinking that they were going to be robbed, the wrestlers tried to speed away. This made the cops suspicious and they opened fire, and one bullet hit Gurpal," Raj Singh, secretary general, Wrestling Federation of India, told HT. "The wrestlers went back to the SAI Centre where coaches and doctors rushed Gurpal to the Jaipur Golden Hospital. Fortunately, the impact of the bullet was reduced as it had hit a windowpane, and the wound is not deep," he added. Gurpal (96kg freestyle) is the nephew of legendary wrestler Kartar Singh.

"It is unprofessional on the part of the Haryana Police, and the incident could have been worse. The team should have disclosed their identity when they stopped the wrestlers," said Kartar, who is also an IPS officer.

"A case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Gurpal Singh. We are looking into the matter and one of my senior officers is investigating the case," said Arun Nehra, superintendent of police, Sonepat.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.