Samajwadi Party battles police over engineer’s lynching


Lucknow : Police fired in the air and fought running battles with opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) activists who were 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 Thursday.

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SP activists torched the offices of the sub-collector and the superintendent of police in Auraiya, the central Uttar Pradesh town in which government engineer M.K. Gupta was killed, reportedly because he did not give money for the birthday bash of Chief Minister Mayawati.

“The mob also torched a police outpost in the Nijhai locality, over half a dozen two wheelers parked outside the outpost and a roadways bus,” a policeman said. An office of the local circle officer was also ransacked.

The district superintendent of police was not available for comment.

Shivpal Yadav, the acting state unit president of the SP, 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 state Public Works Department (PWD) engineer Gupta bore 32 injury marks, while one hand was fractured, the autopsy report revealed Thursday. He had been given electric shocks, and his hair had been pulled out in clumps.

BSP legislator Shekhar Tiwari and his followers allegedly lynched the engineer for refusing to pay for Chief Minister Mayawati’s birthday celebrations. The incident occurred in Auraiya district, 250 km from here.

Police also fired in the air to disperse protesting SP workers in Auraiya and Agra districts Thursday 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.

A few rounds were also fired in the air, he added.

In Agra too, police had to use force to disperse the protesters.

“We arrested over two dozen protesters in Agra,” a policeman said.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav once again demanded the resignation of the chief minister.

“In over 70 percent of murders committed in the state, BSP legislators and party members are found involved,” the former chief minister alleged while talking to mediapersons.

The SP had called for a statewide shutdown Thursday to protest the murder. Party activists stopped trains at many places in the state. State government engineers also called 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, Etawah, Kanpur and a number of districts.

BSP legislator Tiwari was arrested 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 a.m. Wednesday, locked up his wife in the bathroom and thrashed the engineer after stripping him.

Around 5 a.m., 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 a.m. 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 Jan 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 SP during the shutdown. “We are all united against the killing of a class-I officer. The incident has put a blot on 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 and government offices in Auraiya.