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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bulandshahr attack: Behind shootout, a political family divided

On Sunday, unknown assailants opened fire at Haji Yunus's convoy, killing one person and injuring four others. Haji Yunus suspects his own family is behind the attack.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | Bulandshahr |
Updated: December 8, 2021 2:40:35 am
RLD leader Haji Yunus at his home in Bulandshahr on Monday. He has accused his nephew of orchestrating Sunday’s attack. (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

A narrow lane in Bulandshahr’s Upperkot is packed with SUVs as people gather outside a stone-walled house. In the verandah, Haji Yunus is sitting and discussing options to bulletproof his vehicle. On Sunday, unknown assailants opened fire at Yunus’s convoy, killing one person and injuring four others. Yunus suspects his own family is behind the attack.

“My nephew who is in jail conspired… wants to eliminate me. I am not afraid because God will take my life whenever he wants. But the safety of my family is the administration’s responsibility. They will come again for me,” Yunus told The Indian Express.

A former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader, Yunus had officially been inducted into the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) by Jayant Chaudhary in Lucknow on Saturday. The next day, he had just left a wedding event when unknown assailants opened fire at his convoy in Bulandshahr’s Bhaipura.

While Yunus did not receive injuries, five others were injured, and one of them, identified as Khalid (42), later succumbed.

Police recovered around 40 empty shell casings from the area and are investigating the family rivalry as the primary motive behind the attack.

“An FIR has been filed on the basis of the complaint given by the victim. There seems to be a property dispute that has been going on for many years. A particular factory in Aligarh which was supposed to be divided between the brothers has been a point of contention as well. Three of the injured have recovered while one of them remains critical. We are trying to ascertain details of the accused and their operations,” said Bulandshahr SSP Santosh Kumar Singh.

Yunus suspected the involvement of “Delhi gangs” in the attack. “I believe my nephew is in touch with groups like the Nasir Gang in Delhi, who can carry out such audacious attacks,” he said.

For local residents, the family is synonymous with crime and politics. Yunus and his wife are both block pramukhs, while Yunus’s brother Haji Alim had twice been elected as the local MLA on a BSP ticket. Alim was allegedly killed by his son in 2018. Yunus had contested the subsequent bypoll in 2020 on a BSP ticket but lost to BJP’s Usha Sirohi.

“Both brothers [Yunus and Alim] have a huge political nexus and would always be associated with crimes… We hope that the peace in the region is not disturbed,” said a resident of Bhaipura village, where the attack took place.

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