The law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh seems to be fast spiraling out of all semblance of control or authority. On Wednesday, the body of a 45-year-old woman was found hanging from a tree in Bahraich in eastern UP. The woman, belonging to the backward caste, was allegedly abducted and gang-raped before being murdered and hung from a tree.
Another incident that places the state police and administrative machinery in the dock, a BJP leader was shot in Bulandshahr. This is the third incident in five days in which a BJP leader has been shot in western UP.
However, state DGP, AL Bannerji, described the spike in such crimes as "routine" and "normal". He told reporters: "I don't deny that crimes are not happening. But this is routine. It's normal. It happens every year. That's why there is police, there is law and order machinery." He said there had been "no unexpected increase" in crime in the state.
A police official said the semi-nude body of the Bahraich victim was hung with her saree from a tree in Ranipur area. The woman was opposing bootleggers operating in her village. The incident comes in the wake of the recent Badaun case in which two cousins were gang-raped, murdered and their bodies hung from a tree.
On Wednesday, additional Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Singh said the woman had gone missing on Tuesday night. A resident of Loniyanpur village in Ranipur, the woman was allegedly abducted from Bahraich, gang-raped and later hanged, Singh said. The victim was heading to Lucknow for treatment when her son called her on mobile and asked her to return immediately, the ASP said.
On reaching Bahraich, the woman called her son to pick her up. But, when he reached there, he found his mother missing, the officer said. Her mobile, which was switched off, and footwear were found near the tree from which her body was hanging, he said.
In their police complaint, the family named five persons as accused, the ASP said. An FIR has been registered against them under section IPC 302 (murder), section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and section 376 (rape), Singh said. All the accused were absconding, he said adding "rape cannot be ruled out. We are waiting for the post-mortem report".
Locals alleged the woman had enmity with some persons involved in bootlegging. She had made a complaint against them earlier also, they said. Three people have been detained.
Meanwhile, the latest attack on a BJP leader in the state took place in Bulandshahr on Wednesday. The leader, Puneet Singhal, was shot at by three unknown assailants and said to be in a "critical" state. The attack came just a day after BJP leader Om Veer was gunned down in Muzaffarnagar by two motorcycle-borne assailants. Earlier, in Greater Noida, BJP leader Vijay Pandit was shot dead by unidentified bike riders who riddled him with eight bullets.
"The situation in UP is the worst ever. People are being killed at will and women are being raped and murdered every day. Akhilesh Yadav should resign," state BJP chief LK Bajpayee told reporters.