Police fired in the air and cane charged opposition Samajwadi Party activists protesting the lynching of an Uttar Pradesh engineer allegedly by a ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator. The body bore marks of torture and electric shocks, the autopsy revealed on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Shivpal Yadav, the acting state unit president of the Samajwadi Party, and Akhilesh Yadav, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's son, were arrested from outside the governor's house here along with 200 party workers for staging a protest against the killing.
The body of slain Public Works Department (PWD) engineer MK Gupta bore 32 injury marks, while one hand was fractured, the autopsy report revealed. He had been given electric shocks, and his hair had been pulled out in clumps.
BSP legislator Shekhar Tiwari allegedly lynched the engineer for refusing to pay for Chief Minister Mayawati's birthday celebrations. The incident occurred in Auraiya district, 250 km from Lucknow.
Meanwhile, police fired in the air to disperse protesting Samajwadi Party workers in Auraiya and Agra district in the afternoon.
"We fired about half a dozen tear gas shells on Samajwadi Party activists and also used mild force to disperse them from near the government hospital, where the body of the engineer was kept for autopsy. We have also arrested a number of Samajwadi Party workers and the situation is under control," a senior police officer of Auraiya told IANS on phone preferring anonymity.
A few rounds were also fired in the air, he added.
In Agra, police also had to use mild force to disperse the protesters.
"The police arrested over two dozen protesters in Agra," a policeman said.
The Samajwadi Party has called for a state wide shutdown on Thursday. Party activists stopped trains at many places in the state. State government engineers have also called for a shutdown to protest the killing.
"We will bring everything to a standstill across the state," Shivpal Singh Yadav had said earlier.
The protesters stopped trains in Allahabad, Itawah, Kanpur and a number of districts.
BSP legislator Tiwari was arrested on Wednesday from Rania town in Kanpur (rural) district.
The state administration has said the incident had no connection with Mayawati.
The police are on the lookout for two more suspects named in the FIR (first information report) filed by the victim's wife Shashi Gupta.
The state police chief sought to term the incident as a "fallout of kickbacks in contracts in the PWD".
Tiwari and his musclemen had allegedly barged into Gupta's house around 2 am on Wednesday, locked up his wife in the bathroom and thrashed the engineer after stripping him.
Around 5 am, Tiwari carried a severely injured Gupta to the nearest police station and told the police to register a case against the engineer for "indulging in hooliganism".
The police, however, took him to hospital around 7 am where he was declared dead.
According to the victim's cousin Sharad Gupta, the engineer was under pressure to shell out a hefty amount for Mayawati's birthday celebrations.
Every year on January 15, the BSP supremo holds a big birthday bash and party leaders at various levels are reportedly directed to make their assigned contributions, a practice that Mayawati has openly admitted in the past.
The Congress party has declared it will cooperate with the Samajwadi Party during the shutdown. "We are all united against the killing of a class-I officer. The incident has put a blot on the democracy and projects how insecure government officials are in the regime of Mayawati," said an angry state Congress President Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called for closure of schools, government offices and other departments in Auraiya.
The Uttar Pradesh administration has said the lynching has no connection with Mayawati.