A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was shot dead by bike-borne assailants in Greater Noida on Saturday night, the police said. The incident triggered violent protests by a mob that set ablaze 16 vehicles.
The deceased was identified as Vijay Pandit, husband of Geeta Pandit, the chairperson of Nagar Palika Parishad (Dadri).
The assailants came on two motorcycles and held the pistol at Pandit's temple and mouth, and shot him dead when he was returning home from his brother's shop at Bramhpuri around 8.30pm, police sources said.
Thereafter, they fired several rounds and one bullet hit the victim's chest too. Pandit, a former district BJP vice-president, fell down bleeding.
The assailants then fired in the air to scare away the people in the area and fled abandoning one motorcycle, which went out of control and skidded sideways.
Pandit was rushed to Dadri's Mohan Swarup Hospital and then shifted to Yashoda Hospital in Ghaziabad where he was declared dead.
Villagers and BJP workers reached the site and a mob set ablaze around 16 vehicles near Dadri Kotwali on National Highway 91, causing heavy traffic jams.
They also stoned buses and other passing vehicles. The police had to fire in the air to control the mob.
People gather outside the trauma centre of Yashoda Hospital after BJP leader Vijay Pandit died of gunshot wounds. (HT Photo)
District magistrate AV Rajamouli deployed additional forces drawn from neighbouring districts. PAC and Rapid Action forces too were pressed into service.
Pandit's family members alleged that he was getting continuous threats, but the police took no action.
BJP MP Mahesh Sharma demanded the arrest of the killers and alleged there was 'jungle raj' in the city as criminals were striking at will while the police failed to check rising crime.
The killing of the BJP leader has "exposed" the law and order situation, he charged.
Pandit had led the election campaign for the BJP candidate in recent elections and received threats from unidentified persons to keep himself away from campaigning.
He had given a written complaint to Dadri police on April 2 in this regard, BJP sources said.
The shootout once again brought to the fore the deteriorating law and order situation in Greater Noida where the murder of a college manager on May 9 had triggered a massive protest.
(with PTI inputs)