NEW DELHL, India: Gunman shot dead a former Punjab Minister and his bodyguard in the north Indian State, police said.

PTI news agency said four gunmen escaped in a white car after killing Joginder Pal Pandey and bodyguard Sohan Lal, both Hindus, in Punjab’s Ludhiana an industrial city.

An indefinite curfew was imposed on the city following the incident to prevent an outbreak of communal violence, police told Reuters in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital.

Ludhiana has a mixed Hindu Sikh population. Police said gunmen opened fire on Pandey and Lal as they were waiting near a filling station to put patrol in their car.

Pandey, 60, was a widely respected political leader and had been Punjab’s General Secretary of India’s ruling Congress (I) party.

He served for more than eight years as a minister, holding the portfolio of health, public works and transportation in the previous Congress (I) government in the State.

The latest killing raised the death toll in Punjab to 37 this year.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 23, 1987