Rioting broke out in Azamgarh after a BSP leader and former MLA from Sagri,Sarvesh Singh Seepu (35),and his acquaintance Bharat Rai (40) were shot dead by unidentified assailants outside their house under Jiyanpur police station Friday morning. Police said the motive behind the murders was not yet clear.
Later,two other persons,a youth Jitendra and an elderly man Chandrabhan Chaubey,were also killed and around 15 people were injured in alleged police firing at a huge mob during a pitched battle that followed the murders.
While Jitendra died on the spot,Chaubey succumbed to his injuries on his way to the district hospital.
At least two police riot control vehicles,besides half-a-dozen police motorcycles,were torched by the mob. Police officials also said the mob snatched away some firearms and also tried to torch the police station.
Additional reinforcements were brought in by afternoon,but the police had not been able to take custody of the bodies until evening.
Senior police and administration officials,including Varanasi Zone Inspector General of Police G L Meena and Azamgarh District Magistrate Neena Sharma,were holding talks with the family of the former MLA and other important persons in the locality to pacify the situation.
According to the police,the incident occurred between 9.30 a.m. and 9.45 a.m. The former MLA was talking to Bharat just outside his house,close to the market area,when three persons came on a motorcycle and shot at them from a close range. Both died on the spot. The assailants then escaped, said a police officer.
SP (Rural),K K Chowdhary,said: The former MLA was moving in the area in a relaxed manner and also had tea with some people. He returned to his house and was talking to Bharat when the assailants struck.
Ex-MLAs murder triggers violence in Azamgarh,2 killed in police firing. Sarvesh was reportedly shot twice from close range,while Bharat suffered one gunshot injury.
According to a local,the mob initially forced the police team,which had reached the spot,to beat a retreat inside the police station.
However,the police came back and began firing in the chowk area to disperse the mob. Several people,including my brother,Ashok Tiwari,suffered gunshot injuries. Ashok was , said Anand Tiwari,a resident of Jiyanpur.
Tiwari added that one of the police vehicles was apparently just passing by when it got caught in the mob and was set afire. The mob continued to pelt stones at the police, he said.
There were also reports of a cameraman sustaining a bullet injury in his hand when he was taking pictures at the police station.
A local police official claimed that the police was forced to open fire as the mob was going out of control. We are yet to assess the number of firearms that have been snatched away from the policemen, he said.
Azmagarh SP Arvind Sen said in the evening: Two persons have been killed in the clash between the mob and the police. It is yet to be established whether they were killed by the police bullets. We are still trying to control the situation. We are trying to take custody of the bodies.
At least four companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC),besides police force from the neighbouring districts of Mau and Ambedkar Nagar,was called in to control the mob,added Sen.
Chief Medical Officer (Azamgarh) Dr B B Singh said: At least 15 people had been taken to the district hospital. Three-four of them were referred to BHUs Sir Sunder Lal Hospital in Varanasi,as their condition was critical.