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Just twenty steps away from the Mango tree by which two minor girls, aged 14 and 16, were found hanging on the morning of May 28, is a helipad which so far BSP supremo Mayawati, central minister Ramvilas Paswan and his son Chirag and state police chief AL Banerjee have used for landing during their visit to the village.
One after another, cavalcades of SUVs bring leaders like former state chief minister Kalyan Singh and other MPs and MLAs from nearby areas to the sleepy and dusty village, some 40 kms from Badaun.
A company of Rapid Action Force plus close to 500 policemen have been deployed to keep the law and order situation in the area under control.
But beneath the surface, the caste factor seems to play a major role in this small village of UP. Yadavs, who tasted power earlier than the other weaker sections of the state, are now at loggerheads with weaker castes like Shakyas within the OBC category.
“Yadavs in the village were harassing others and under the Akhilesh Yadav government, a Yadav police rather than acting against the goons belonging to their community, used to victimise us,” says OP Pal, a resident of the village.
Pal argues that may be the Yadav (Pappu) accused in the gang rape case thought they might get away with the help of Yadav policemen which is why they had the audacity to hang the girls by the tree so brazenly. The girls’ family belongs to the Shakyas community.
“Yadavs from other side of the Ganga used to come and harass us. Even Pappu’s family came from that side and settled here two years back. This case is the last straw in the break down between Yadavs and other castes of the village. I don’t know much but it is quite possible that a Pappu Yadav can behave in this manner under patronage from constable Sarvesh Yadav,” said Ved Prakash, another local.
A team from Communist Party of India also visited the village on Tuesday and blasted the Akhilesh government.
“It is shameful that a leader like Mulayam Singh Yadav during election campaign said ‘boys will be boys’ over rape incidents. Policemen are involved in this case,” said CPI worker Jitendra Sharma, a member of the CPI team that visited Katra Sadatganj.