A day after residents, protesting the killing of a college manager, torched vehicles and a part of the local police station, Dankaur in Greater Noida turned into a ghost town on Saturday.
Traders downed shutters as the district administration scrambled to restore order. Residents said they were protesting what they called the deteriorating law and order situation. Violence erupted in Dankaur on Friday after 55-year-old Manmohan Goyal, a college manager and former panchayat chief, was shot dead by assailants in the town’s main market.
The incident came a fortnight after the owner of a liquor store was shot dead for allegedly turning away customers who showed up after the shop had shut for the day. On Saturday, as he negotiated with protesters in the middle of Lamba Bazaar, where all shops were shut, Noida SSP Preetinder Singh told them: “There are many who cite the incident two weeks ago and the assurances that we had given at the time. I want to assure all of you that we are doing all we can and if there are those who did not listen to the directions that I had given at the time (to increase picketing, so traders feel safe), then strict action will be taken. We have also been hamstrung by the elections. After May 16, we will bring three more police stations to Greater Noida alone.”
But residents were not impressed. “The man who has been killed was not an ordinary person. He was one of our senior leaders and a manager of our degree college. Murders are happening with such regularity that residents are forced to vent anger on the roads. Every time there is an incident, police officers come and increase security. We don’t want security, we want results and arrests,” Manver Singh said. Police said they were doing their best to arrest the culprits. “Teams are out to trace the accused. There is some CCTV footage that we are looking at to establish the identity of the killers. Further investigations are underway,” Preetinder Singh said.
Police said prima facie it seemed a property dispute might have led to the killing. On Saturday, UPCC spokesperson Dhirendra Singh visited the town and criticised the administration. “This is a clear case of police and administrative laxity. Just a few days ago, officials had promised more policing but that has not been done,” he said.