Early morning on July 19, 2013, the doctors at Jiyanpur health centre in Azamgarh are trying to calm the family members of former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Sarvesh Singh alias Sipu as his assistants are pushing the stretcher carrying the bulletriddled leader inside the emergency ward.
In a few minutes, Dr Arun Kumar comes out to inform the family that Singh is dead. Around a dozen bullets have pierced through his body damaging his vital organs, he announces.
Three unidentified assailants had fired on him while he was standing on the verandah of his house with a security guard Brijesh Rai. Both succumbed to their injuries.
The cold-blooded murder of Singh rattled the leaders of all political parties. The extent to which Singh’s murder caused panic among politicians can be gauged from a visit to BJP MP Kamlesh Paswan’s (37) residence in Gorakhpur, 110 km north of Azamgarh.
“I am under constant threat from political rivals as well as the mafia active in the region. I have urged the district magistrate and the superintendent of police to provide me security guards, but in vain. Now I am planning to visit Lucknow to raise the issue before chief minister Akhilesh Yadav,” Paswan told HT. He has a licensed pistol.
His wife and mother too possess licensed weapons and move in a security ring of half a dozen heavily armed personal guards.
“My father Om Prakash Paswan was killed in 1996 while addressing a public meeting. Several attempts have been made by my rivals to eliminate me too. Now Lok Sabha elections are round the corner and I have to move into the interiors to meet the voters. I need security as well as weapons,” he told HT.