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A day after a BJP leader was shot in Dadri, the area remained tense. Police force was drawn from five UP districts and companies of armed forces — PAC, RAF and RRF — were deployed in the western UP town.
Vijay Pandit, 35, was killed by two bike-borne assailants near his house on Saturday night. Pandit was a local BJP leader and his wife Geeta is the Nagar Palika Parishad chairperson. He was rushed to the Yashoda hospital in Ghaziabad where he succumbed to bullet wounds.
The murder has taken a political colour since then. Pandit had worked for the BJP candidate in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. With his supporters pointing fingers at the ruling Samajwadi Party, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has promised swift action against the guilty.
Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Devendra Chauhan and other senior police officers are camping in the area and prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped in Dadri. “We have formed several teams which are conducting raids. A team of Special Task Force is also investigating the case. We have divided the area into two sectors and police teams are maintaining security here in two shifts,” said Chauhan.
As the word about Pandit’s murder got out on Saturday night, his supporters and family members gathered near Dadri Market. Alleging non-cooperation from the police, they protested, torched 16 vehicles and pelted stones at a police team. The violence triggered a massive jam on NH-91 that connects Ghaziabad with Bulandshahr. The police fired in the air as the clash continued till late night.
On Sunday, Pandit’s body was brought to Dadri after post-mortem. Hundreds of locals and BJP workers joined the procession to the Dadri cremation ground escorted by a large contingent of PAC and local police force.
Defying prohibitory orders, BJP workers on Sunday held protests in Noida and Greater Noida demanding arrest of the killers of Pandit and called for ‘Noida bandh’ on Monday.
The victim’s wife, Geeta has claimed that her husband’s murder is the fallout of a political rivalry.
“My husband was a social worker and was fighting for the rights of the poor. He was up against gangsters who used to extort money from businessmen in the area. During the Lok Sabha election, he got threatening calls from the dreaded criminal Anil Dujana, who asked him not to campaign for BJP’s candidate Dr Mahesh Sharma. Samajwadi party leader Narendra Bhati and Vikram Thekedar are involved in this killing. The police should arrest them,” she told HT.
However, the family has not named anybody in the FIR.
While Bhati rubbished these allegations, BJP MP Mahesh Sharma demanded a CBI probe into the matter. “Law and order have deteriorated in SP’s ‘gunda raj’. Even local police and administration are supporting them and there is no check on the rising crime in the district,” said Sharma.
Sharma said he had spoken to Union home minister Rajnath Singh and will raise the issue in Parliament on Monday.