The victims were identified as Devendra Pratap Singh alias Lathi Singh, 52, and 30-year-old Kanhaiya Pathak. The police have arrested 11 people, including BJP leader Atul Singh, and invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against the accused for allegedly shooting the SP leader and injuring four. District BJP chief Surya Narayan Tiwari confirmed to The Indian Express that Atul Singh is a leader of his party.
Devendra Singh, a former village head, had sought an investigation into the MGNREGA works going on in the area. Atul Singh is a zilla parishad member, and his mother is the village head.
“Around 5 pm on Friday, a team of MGNREGA officials came to investigate,” said Umri Begumganj Station House Officer (SHO) Om Prakash Chauhan. “When the officials were conducting the inquiry, there was a clash between people belonging to the camps of Devendra Pratap Singh and Atul Singh.”
Superintendent of Police Raj Karan Nayyar said it had been alleged that the BJP leader had started firing. The injured, including former Lucknow University student leader Vijay Singh alias Titu, were admitted to the district hospital.
The SHO claimed prima facie it appeared that those in the BJP leader’s camp had fired the shots in retaliation against the SP leader for seeking a probe into the village administration.
The Gonda SP Nayyar said the NSA was invoked against the accused on the basis of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s instructions.
The Chief Minister also warned the district magistrate and Nayyar over the incident, asking them how it occurred during the lockdown. “The CM has expressed condolences to the family members of the deceased,” the government said in a statement.
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