THE SON of the BJP MLA from Payagpur in Bahraich has been booked for murder after the bodies of two children — at least one of whom was allegedly buried alive — were recovered from near the Ghaghra river in Baundi area of the district. MLA Subhash Tripathi’s son Nishank has also been accused of sheltering those involved in illegal mining of sand in the area.
Nishank, local mining supervisor Manoj Shukla and other unnamed persons have been booked under sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and the SC/ST(Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Karan (10) and Nisar (11) — residents of Bhauri village — went missing on way to their fields, which are near the river, on Wednesday. When they did not return till late evening, their family members started a search.
Police said while Karan’s body was found near the river, Nisar was found dead the next morning in a puddle on the riverbed, which is close to the site of sand mining. Bahraich SP Sunil Saxena said though he is yet to see the postmortem examination report, he has received information that the report has stated that the boys had drowned. “No antemortem injuries have been noted… the case is being investigated,” he added.
However, in his complaint to the police, Karan’s father Chetram — a Dalit — has alleged that his son was buried alive under sand. He also claimed that the accused were involved in digging sand from areas beyond the permitted jurisdiction. The complaint alleged that villagers had been opposing such illegal activities and Chetram had also been issued life threats. The FIR was lodged at Baundi police station on Thursday.
When contacted, the MLA denied all allegations. “I have worked against illegal mining in the area… so, those involved in illegal mining are against me… My son has been implicated by political rivals and has nothing to do with the deaths or mining,” he said.
Bahraich District Magistrate Ajay Deep Singh claimed no illegal mining was taking place in the area. “Sriram Mishra, a local, has got a permit for sand mining… A few villagers, who had been involved in illegal mining in the past, have been upset with this and are thus, protesting.” Manoj Shukla worked for Sriram Mishra. “Two days ago, I came to know through newspapers that villagers were objecting against the miner for allegedly working in areas beyond his jurisdiction… Subsequently, I constituted a three-member committee headed by the Mahasi sub-divisional magistrate to conduct an inquiry,” he added.
When contacted, Mahasi Circle Officer Tanvir Ahmad Khan said: “Villagers had removed the bodies of the children, from where they were found, before the police could reach the spot. But both bodies were found in the same area. Following the recovery of the bodies, the villagers damaged vehicles of the miner.”
Meanwhile, PTI reported that SP leader Azam Khan on Friday urged the NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind to participate in the last rites of Karan, as he is a Dalit. Speaking to mediapersons in Rampur, he said the police lodged the complaint only after the villagers gheraoed the police station. He added that the state government should clarify what happened to its claim that ‘goonda raj’ has ended in the state.