Lucknow: A chilling video of the murders of a local Samajwadi Party politician and his son – being shot dead by two men at close range in a field in western Uttar Pradesh – has emerged. The shooting took place today in a village in Sambhal district, 379 km from state capital Lucknow and 187 km from Delhi.
The brazen incident took place after an argument over a road being built under the MNREGA scheme. Both the shooters have been arrested.
According to Additional SP, Sambhal, Alok Kumar Jayswal, Chhote Lal Diwakar (50) and his son Sunil Kumar (28) were shot over a dispute regarding a road being constructed under MGNREGS in Shamsoi village. Diwakar’s wife is the village pradhan.
Two of the accused — Jitendra Sharma and Sharmendra Sharma -– have been arrested while police are looking for Ramendra, Upendra, Gyandendra and Gajendra Singh, local residents who have been named in the FIR.
“We registered an FIR against identified and unidentified persons under sections of IPC including 302 (murder). They are locals. The dispute was about the road construction in that area. The accused shot at the two victims and escaped. We have formed teams to arrest them,” Jayswal said.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 has also been invoked. The victims belong to the Dalit community, while the accused are Brahmins. The families reportedly had a rivalry over the panchayat elections.
Diwakar’s other son Sachin lodged a complaint which read, “My mother Kamlesh Devi is the current village head. The work done for development in the village was being overseen by my father. The family of Ramendra Sharma, who is the former village head, had an issue with the development work being undertaken in the village and had lodged a case under false charges against my father and brother which is being heard in court.”
Kamlesh Devi defeated Ramendra Sharma in 2015 panchayat elections. Panchayat elections are again scheduled in UP this year.
In the 2 minute 30 second video that was shot during the incident, two men with rifles are seen arguing with some men. Several others can be seen standing alongside a mud road. According to the police, the duo seen carrying rifles are a father-son duo from the area. Towards the end of the video, the duo is seen retreating. They then turn around and shoot at Diwakar and his son.
According to police officials, the dispute arose after the accused alleged that the road was infringing on their land. “The accused had asked Diwakar to stop work and look for an alternative route. Diwakar did not agree as work had already been allotted,” said a police official.
In 2017, Diwakar got a Samajwadi Party ticket to contest Assembly elections from Chandausi. He eventually did not contest as the seat went to the Congress after the two parties tied up.
Condemning the murders, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav expressed anger over the incident. “The ruling party has been committing atrocities on SP leaders for the past three years. During the lockdown, there has been no check on crimes in the state. Innocent people are being murdered every day in the state under the BJP government… Before this incident, SP leaders were killed in Azamgarh and Jaunpur,” said a statement issued by the party quoting Akhilesh.