The shooting incident inside a court in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district, which left an accused dead and another injured, has brought into focus the rivalry between the local Congress and BJP units that goes back at least six years. After the incident, a BJP minister’s son too was named in the FIR.
On Monday, two men — Sukhveer and Dharmendra — opened fire inside the court after accused Harish Sindhi, Balram Yadav and others arrived for hearing in a 2010 murder case in which one Kulveer was shot dead at his home in Sureshia, Hanumangarh.
Sukhveer, the elder brother of Kulveer, shot at Balram, but accidentally hit Harish and killed him. Later, Dharmendra tried to shoot Balram, but missed. Subsequently, Sukhveer and Dharmendra were overpowered by those present and handed over to police.
In 2010, Kulveer’s mother Rani Kaur, who is a BJP leader, had named five persons, in the FIR over her son’s murder. Those named included Balram, whose wife and brother Ashok Yadav were Congress corporators, and Harish. Both are currently out on bail. Ashok Yadav is still a Congress corporator from Ward 45.
“The 2010 incident was an accident. There were run-ins with them as they are from the BJP and we are from the Congress. On Holi that year, things got worse and Kulveer died. But we did not kill him. Local BJP MLA Dr Rampratap led the protest and kept Kulveer’s body on the streets, demanding that we be put behind bars, and therefore, we were made accused in the case,” said Yadav.
Police said that Sukhveer wanted to avenge his brother’s murder. The FIR filed Monday also named Rani along with Amit Sahu, 39, who is the son of the local BJP MLA and the state’s Water Resources Minister, Dr Rampratap.
According to the FIR, Sahu was seen inside the court premises talking to Sukhveer on the day of the incident.
“Rani had contested municipal elections as a BJP candidate in 2014 and lost by 50 votes to an Independent. It was Amit Sahu who was leading the organisational part of her campaign,” alleged Anil Khicher, a Congress leader and party corporator from Ward 25 in Hanumangarh.
Talking to The Indian Express, the minister and his son claimed that they had no role to play in the court firing.
“The police can get all my call detail records. I have nothing whatsoever to do with the shooting. But since my father is a minister, they want to target us,” Amit Sahu said.
While SHO Ranveer Singh claimed that Amit Sahu had been questioned, he denied it saying that he “is open to any inquiry and ready to cooperate. As for my support to Rani, being a party member I have always supported all candidates who contested on our party ticket, including Rani”.
Dr Rampratap added: This is a conspiracy by someone and they want to drag my name through the dirt, hence they are targeting my son. We have nothing to do with either party involved in shooting. They are not our relatives, not neighbours, not acquaintances. But someone is looking for a shortcut to undermine our image in the society.”
Congress, meanwhile, protested in Hanumangarh Thursday and demanded the minister’s removal and a fair probe.