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Dadri shuts down after BJP leader’s death, wife points finger at rivals

MP Mahesh Sharma blames lack of law and order for the killing

After the post-mortem examination, Vijay Pandit’s body was brought back to his residence. His last rites were perfomed at the Dadri cremation ground.  (Photos: Gajendra yadav) After the post-mortem examination, Vijay Pandit’s body was brought back to his residence. His last rites were perfomed at the Dadri cremation ground. (Photos: Gajendra yadav)

Gautam Buddh Nagar was locked down on Sunday after the killing of BJP leader Vijay Pandit in Dadri late on Saturday triggered widespread violence in the area. Police also issued prohibitory orders and detained four persons.

Meanwhile, demanding a CBI enquiry into the killing, Pandit’s wife and chairman of Dadri Municipal Corporation Nagar, Geeta Pandit, claimed her husband’s death was linked to political rivalry between him and local Samajwadi Party leader Narender Bhati. Bhati, however denied the allegations and said he had “no reason to kill Vijay Pandit”.

ADG (Law and Order) Devendra Chauhan said several teams, including the UP Special Task Force had asked to help with the probe.

On Saturday, Pandit was shot dead by three men who came on two motorcycles. According to eyewitness reports, Pandit was at a juice shop along Dadri Road when the bike-borne assailants arrived there. They fired shots at Pandit, and two shots in the air before fleeing the spot. Pandit was taken to Yashoda Hospital in Ghaziabad, where he was declared dead.

His death triggered violence in the area, during which supporters torched at least 16 vehicles on Dadri Road. They also pelted stones at the police station, forcing police personnel to fire shots in the air in order to control the mob. A number of police officers, including the Dadri police station inspector, were injured during the skirmishes.

According to police, Pandit’s post-mortem report showed that he had been shot at point-blank range. Of the five bullets fired at Pandit, one had hit him in the mouth and one in his chest. Another had entered his skull from behind his ear, the report stated.

After the autopsy, Pandit’s body was brought back to his hosue. His last rites were performed at the Dadri cremation ground.

Pandit’s family alleged that he had been receiving threats prior to the Lok Sabha elections, while he was campaigning for Mahesh Sharma, now the Gautam Buddh Nagar MP. According to the family members, he had been warned against campaigning for Sharma.

Pandit’s brother Mukesh, who runs a grocery shop on Dadri Road, said that they police had been informed about the repeated threats, but had taken no action.

“We are investigating to see if previous complaints made by the BJP leader had gone unheard. But our first priority for us is to bring the killers to justice,” Arvind Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dadri), said.

Sharma too joined Pandit’s family to demand a CBI enquiry into the killing. “I have known Vijay Pandit for past 20 years. The BJP has lost an honest worker who fought against corruption,” he said.

Sharma blamed the poor law and order situation in Dadri for the killing. “I hold police and the administration responsible for his death. Police has been unable to deal with similar incidents in the past. We do not have faith in the UP Police, and thus, we demand a CBI enquiry,” Sharma said.

Sharma said he had spoken to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the incident. “If I get a chance to speak in Parliament on Monday, I will raise this issue,” Sharma said.

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