Man mowed down for raising voice against encroachment in MP’s Vidisha district
A 48-year-old man was allegedly crushed to death under a tractor for lodging a complaint against the encroachment of forest land in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district, a police officer said.
Santram Valimiki’s widow, Asha Devi, who is also a sarpanch, said her husband had filed a complaint against Faqeer Ahmed and his sons, Rizwan, Irfan, Umar, and Farooq, for encroaching upon 100 bigha forest land. “The mafias were creating a nuisance in the village. After my husband lodged the complaint, they threatened him with dire consequences and now they killed him.”
Devi said after hitting Valimiki, the attackers allegedly threatened the passers-by against informing the police or helping him, saying they would face the same fate if they intervened. “My husband...[pleaded for help] but nobody helped him.”
Police superintendent Vinayak Verma said Ahmed and his sons have been arrested and booked for the murder.
“Santram was returning home on Thursday when Rizwan, who was [at the tractor wheel]...hit his bike with the tractor. The other accused Irfan, Umar and Farooq were also present on the tractor. After hitting Santram, they also threatened others. Later, police reached the spot, and he was rushed to a hospital where the doctor declared him brought dead.” He added Ahmed who was not present at the crime spot, but he has been arrested for conspiracy to kill Valimiki.
Vidisha collector Pankaj Jain said Valimiki had lodged the complaint about encroachment and the forest department on March 16 formed a team to remove it. “The anti-encroachment drive started on Friday.”
The incident triggered tensions in the area as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and local ruling Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Umakant Sharma staged a protest and demanded tough action against the accused. A heavy police force was deployed in the area and the gathering of more than four people has been prohibited.
Sharma accused police and administration of supporting the encroachers. “Had the administration and police acted timely, Santram would not have been killed. A local police station in-charge was patronising the mafia and he should be removed from the post.”