Pradhan shot dead, police say ‘old rivalry’
A 40-year-old village head (gram pradhan) was shot dead allegedly by two men over some dispute, shortly after a social audit meeting of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme got over at a primary school in Ashrupur village on Monday. The police, however, said that there appears to be no connection between the two incidents, and that the killing of Om Prakash Yadav, prima facie, is a result of old rivalry.
Following the incident, the villagers torched vehicles parked outside the house of one of the two accused — Ram Yash Yadav and Kapil Yadav, both in their 30s.
The police have not registered any FIR in the case so far. PAC and additional police force are camping at the spot to ensure peace.
Giving details, Badlapur Circle Officer Janardan Tiwari said: “Pradhan Om Prakash Yadav pradhan had gone to attend the meeting where members of the social audit committee (for MGNREGA) and other nominated officials from the block level were present.
“As the meeting got over, Ram Yash Yadav and Kapil Yadav reached there and started an argument with the pradhan, who was then shot at from close range. The pradhan sustained injury in the neck and died on the spot while the two accused escaped.”
Angry villagers then targeted Ram Yash’s house and set two vehicles — a Scorpio and an Indica — parked outside the house on fire.
Superintendent of Police (Rural) O P Pandey said “prima facie, the reason appears to be some old rivalry”.
“There does not appear to be any link between the audit meeting and the murder,” he clarified.
District Development Officer T P Mishra, supervising MGNREGA in Jaunpur, added that the officials’ presence at such meetings is not necessarily required as it is the local committee that mainly looks into it.
“As per our information, the incident had nothing to do with the meeting. Old rivalry is said to be the reason (behind the killing),” he said.
The police, meanwhile, has begun conducting raids to nab the accused.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the pradhan’s family and the two accused had been in a dispute, which, according to some, had prevailed for nearly 10 years. “They were all neighbours. Some time ago, Ram Yash got a new house constructed about a km away (from the neighbourhood) and moved out. His elder brother (Kapil) continued to live in the old house. During the last elections for pradhan, there was reportedly some animosity (between the two groups) but nothing serious,” Tiwari said.
“What led to the immediate provocation is a matter currently under investigation. An FIR will be registered as soon as we receive a complaint,” the officer added.
Man beaten to death for plucking a mango
A 21-year-old man was allegedly beaten to death by the caretaker family of a mango orchard for plucking a fruit, in Jalalpur village on Sunday.
A case of murder has been registered at Baghrai police station in Pratapgarh district against one Ram Khelawan Vishwakarma and his two sons — Sanjay and Mintu. All accused are absconding. Additional police force has been deployed in the area for security reasons, officials said.
According to the police, around 12.30 pm, one Jitendra Saroj plucked a mango from the orchard of Keshav Singh which he had leased out to the Vishwakarmas on a year-long contract. Saroj was confronted by Sanjay, and the two entered into an argument. While the latter was joined by his brother and father, some of Saroj’s friend came to his aide, resulting in a fight breaking out between the two groups.
In a fit of rage, Sanjay picked up a wooden plank (base of a cot) and hit Saroj on the head a couple of times, an officer informed.
“He (Saroj) sustained serious head injuries and was rushed to a community health centre, from where he was referred to the district hospital. He succumbed to his injuries late in the evening,” Baghrai station officer Virendra Tripathi said. The officer added that there was no previous animosity between the two groups.
Soon after the news broke, Additional SP (West), Pratapgarh, along with other officials and extra police force, rushed to the spot.
“The post-mortem has been conducted and the body brought back to the village for cremation,” Tripathi said.
An FIR on charges of murder has been registered against Ram, Sanjay and Mintu.