Ballia/Lucknow: Police have taken into custody five people and launched a hunt for a local BJP leader who allegedly shot dead a man as a fracas broke out at a meeting attended by administration and police officials over allotment of ration shops in a Ballia village.
Jaiprakash alias Gama was killed when Dhirendra Pratap Singh opened fire after a meeting called at Panchayat Bhawan for selection of ration shops was cancelled by the sub-divisional magistrate due to a dispute between members of self-help groups who had gathered there.
#WATCH One person dead after bullets were fired during a meeting called for allotment of shops under govt quota, in Ballia.
Devendra Nath, SP Ballia, says, "The incident took place after a clash erupted between two groups during the meeting. Probe on." (Note-abusive language) pic.twitter.com/sLwRgkr9s4
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 15, 2020
But, an Uttar Pradesh MLA has come out in support of the main accused in Thursday's firing incident in Reoti area of the district that left a 46-year-old man dead.
BJP MLA from Bairia Assembly seat Surendra Singh defended Dhirendra Pratap Singh, who is the district unit president of the BJP ex-servicemen cell, and demanded a CB-CID probe in the matter.
“Dhirendra Pratap Singh opened fire in self defence or else dozens of his family and associates would have been killed... He had no other option. It was a do-or-die situation fro him,” the BJP legislator told reporters.
The incident is very upsetting, it should not have taken place but I condemn the one-sided investigation of administration. Nobody is looking at the pain of six women who have been injured in the incident. Dhirendra Singh fired in self-defence: Surendra Singh, Ballia BJP MLA https://t.co/aS3wlHC7JG pic.twitter.com/G6JEkKiY3U
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 16, 2020
Nine policemen posted at Reoti police station -- three sub-inspectors and six constables -- have been suspended on charges of laxity, Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjay Kumar Singh said.
Sub divisional magistrate (SDM) Suresh Chandra Pal and circle officer of police Chandrakesh Singh were suspended on the directions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath soon after the incident on Thursday.
ASP Singh said an FIR has been registered against BJP leader Dhirendra Pratap Singh, his brother Narendra Pratap Singh and 22-25 unnamed persons.
Five people have been detained for questioning, he said, adding that raids are being conducted for the arrest of the accused.
A brother of the deceased, however, alleged that the police let off the main accused.
“There were 10 policemen on the spot...they were saving the culprits and beating us. When Dhirendra Pratap Singh was fleeing after firing, the police had caught him from behind. But they later took him to a nearby embankment and let him go,” Tej Pratap Pal, the brother of the deceased, told reporters.
Meanwhile, ADG Brij Bhushan and DIG Subhash Chandra Dubey reached Ballia and visited the scene of crime in Durjanpur village in Ballia's Reoti area on Friday.
Dubey told reporters that, prima facie, there was laxity on the part of the police.
Jai Prakash (46) was shot dead allegedly by Dhirendra Pratap Singh after the SDM decided not to go ahead with the meeting due to a dispute between members of self-help groups.
Bairia MLA Surendra Singh confirmed that Singh heads the BJP's ex-servicemen's unit in Ballia district.
The Opposition Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) attacked the Uttar Pradesh government over the incident.
यू.पी. में बलिया की हुई घटना अति-चिन्ताजनक तथा अभी भी महिलाओं व बच्चियों पर आयेदिन हो रहे उत्पीड़न आदि से यह स्पष्ट हो जाता है कि यहाँ कानून-व्यवस्था काफी दम तोड़ चुकी है। सरकार इस ओर ध्यान दे तो यह बेेहतर होगा। बी.एस.पी. की यह सलाह।
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) October 16, 2020
BSP chief Mayawati said the incident in Ballia is 'very alarming' and criticised the state government over law and order.
In a tweet in Hindi, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said, “The truth of the law and order of Uttar Pradesh has been exposed with a leader of the ruling BJP in Ballia openly killing a man in front of the SDM and CO. Now let's see if the government of encounters also gets the vehicle of its own people overturned.”