A man was shot dead, allegedly by a BJP leader, and six others were injured in firing and brick-batting during an open meeting convened for the allocation of two fair price shops in Ballia district of eastern Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, police said.
A police officer said the incident took place in the presence of the sub divisional magistrate (SDM) and the circle officer in the panchayat bhavan at Durjanpur village under the Revati police station limits, about 150 km east of Varanasi.
In a statement, the UP government said chief minister Adityanath has taken cognizance of the Ballia incident and directed that the SDM, CO and the police personnel on the spot be suspended immediately and the strictest action be taken against the accused. The role of the officers would be investigated and, if they were found responsible (for the incident), criminal proceedings would be initiated, the statement added.
Superintendent of police (Ballia) Devendranath Dubey, said one Dheerendra Pratap Singh opened fire and the bullet hit Jaiprakash Pal. Pal was rushed to hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Dheerendra Pratap Singh was associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), locals claimed and a BJP leader confirmed it.
Singh is the Ballia district unit president of the BJP’s Sainik Prakosht (servicemen’s cell), according to BJP MLA Surendra Singh, who represents Bairia constituency in Ballia. The BJP MLA described the incident as ‘a casualty’ and said the law will take its own course.
An officer said the injured were admitted to the government hospital at Sonbarsa in Ballia. Heavy police force has been deployed in the village as a precautionary measure.
Police said the meeting was held for the allocation of two fair price shops at Durjanpur and Hanumanganj villages. Two women self-help groups, Maa Shayar Jagdamba and Shivshakti Sahayata Samuh, had applied for the right to operate the shops. In the meeting, it was decided that voting will be held to determine the allocation of the shops.
Police said SDM Suresh Kumar Pal and CO Chandrakesh Singh arranged for only people with Aadhaar or other valid identity cards to participate in the voting. But the meeting turned chaotic as even those without the ID cards insisted on voting. The meeting was then cancelled by the Bairia block development officer.
Police said both the parties shouted slogans against the administration and one person opened fire.
A case was registered against eight people by name and 25 others who were unidentified following a complaint by the deceased’s brother Chandrama Pal.
The injured include Narendra Singh, 45, Aradhna Singh, 45, Dharmendra Singh, 40, Rajendra Singh, 45 and two others.
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