CHIEF JUSTICE of the Allahabad High Court Justice Ajoy Nath Ray had a narrow escape when his vehicle was attacked by a mob, which had put up a road blockade, near village Mehadipur in Barabanki district on Saturday. Though the CJ, who was traveling to Varanasi from Lucknow, escaped unhurt, his vehicle was badly damaged. Later, the CJ cancelled his onward journey and returned to Lucknow.
On returning to Lucknow, the CJ summoned senior police officers. Additional DG (law & order) Padman Singh rushed to Justice Ray’s residence to tender apology for the incident. Samajwadi Party MP and former advocate general Virendra Bhatia also called on the CJ.
In a prompt reaction to the incident, SO, Loni Katra, Anil Kumar Shahi, under whose jurisdiction the incident took place, and a police personnel on duty in the CJ’s escort were suspended.
The State Government also constituted a two-member committee, comprising principal secretary, Medical and Health, AK Mishra and ADG (PAC) A Palanivel, to probe whether there was any slackness in the CJ’s security. The committee has been asked to submit the report within two days.
It all began when the tehsildar, along with the Loni Katra police, reached Mehadipur village to carry out an anti-encroachment drive. Taking the side of an encroacher, local BJP leader Amber Saran Jaiswal resisted the drive. On the basis of the tehsildar’s complaint the police arrested Jaiswal and another BJP leader on charges of creating disturbance during the demolition drive.
The arrests of the two BJP leaders agitated BJP supporters. They, along with villagers, blocked the Lucknow-Sultanpur road near Mehadipur under Loni Katra police station.
Soon the mob went berserk and beat up station house officer (SHO) Anil Shahi, the circle officer and the SDM Haidergarh. The tehsildar, who reached the spot to pacify the mob, was also thrashed. The irate crowd also set afire Loni Katra SO’s official vehicle.
It was at this time that Justice Ray’s car reached the spot. The police escort tried to make way for the CJ’s vehicle, but the villagers refused to relent.
Sensing trouble, the driver of the CJ’s car tried to turn back. At this, the mob started throwing stones at the car, which was badly damaged.
Later, the Barabanki district magistrate, the SP and IG Lucknow zone AK Gupta rushed to the spot. The blockade was finally lifted after five hours.