The clash between the police and the villagers continued all night on Saturday and the early hours of Sunday after the killing of gram pradhan Nanhey Yadav and circle officer Ziaul-Haq at Balipur village in Pratapgarh district.
Police personnel from the neighbouring districts of Allahabad, Rae Bareli, Jaunpur, Kaushambi and Fatehpur were mobilised to control Nanhey Yadav's hundreds of armed supporters who continued firing on the men in uniform.
The CO's body lay in a field for over three hours as the police did not dare enter the village to launch a combing operation. The body was retrieved only after reinforcements arrived.
As the police moved into the village, they were ambushed and had to return the fire.
"A large number of anti-social elements were seen moving towards the bank of the Ganga. Some of them had taken position on rooftops to challenge the police. It seemed we had entered into a war zone," said a PAC jawan. The villagers were armed with sophisticated weapons. Normalcy was restored in the village only in the morning.
Till evening, no search operation was launched in Balipur to recover the CO's pistol that was taken away by the mob. "The search operation would be launched on Sunday night," a police officer said and added, "the police have been directed to keep a close watch on the movement of people".
The operation was delayed as the villagers were given time to cremate the bodies of Nanhey Yadav and his brother Suresh.
Police were deployed on all the roads leading to the village. In the evening, inspector Manoj Shukla registered an FIR in the CO murder case against 10 persons and a dozen unidentified ones.. Another FIR was registered against nine persons in connection with the killings of Nanhey and Suresh. Raids would be conducted to arrest the culprits, said superintendent of police AK Rai.