The Samajwadi Party (SP) government continues to reel under criticism for failing to control the law and order situation in UP. The latest episode demonstrating this steep deterioration came on Saturday night when unidentified bike-riders shot dead a prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in west UP.
The grief-stricken family has named a senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader as the main accused for the murder, though his name was not even mentioned in the FIR. Four people have been detained in this connection but police are still to get any trace of the killers. The family has also demanded a CBI inquiry.
Questioned on the incident on Sunday, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav curtly told reporters: "The guilty will not be spared." He said an inquiry had been ordered into the incident.
BJP leader Vijay Pandit was shot dead in Dadri area of Gautam Budhha Nagar (Greater Noida) in west UP on Saturday night. As the news of his murder spread, his supporters went on a rampage and indulged in mindless violence and arson, damaging several vehicles, and private and government property.
Pandit's wife Geeta, who is the Dadri Nagar Panchayat Chairman, told reporters that Narendra Bhati, SP candidate from Gautam Buddha Nagar in the recent Lok Sabha elections, had planned the murder. "During the elections, a criminal had called us and threatened that my husband would be killed if he did not stop supporting the BJP candidate Mahesh Sharma (now MP)," she said. "Later, Bhati himself called and threatened us. A contractor backed by the SP also made a threatening call. These people have killed my husband to take revenge," she said, wailing beyond consolation.
However, Bhati has strongly denied the allegation. "There are hundreds of BJP workers like him (Vijay Pandit). I have not even heard his name. I have nothing to do with him," he told reporters. "If there is any evidence of my role in this murder, I will take 'sanyas' from politics," he asserted.
Bhati allegedly patronises sand mining mafia in west UP, and was the person behind the abrupt government action against junior IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal whose suspension had created a storm throughout the country. She was punished only because she had initiated a punishing drive against the mining mafia in GB Nagar.
Meanwhile, the last rites of the slain BJP leader were held at Dadri cremation ground on Sunday. GB Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma, who was there during the cremation, demanded a CBI inquiry and alleged there was "jungle raj" in west UP as criminals were striking at will.
Sharma met the family members and expressed condolences. "He (Pandit) was like my brother and I was emotionally attached with him. I will ensure that he gets justice," he said, adding that he had spoken to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard.
JP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "Nothing like government can be seen in UP. Law and order situation has completely been destroyed and the UP government is responding in a very casual manner."