June 16, 2021 6:13:24 am
Hundreds of people have been protesting outside Titawi police station in Muzaffarnagar since Monday evening demanding registration of an FIR into the alleged kidnapping of two newly elected Block Development Committee (BDC) members. While the families of BDC members Dharmendra Singh (35) and Nazim (55) alleged that the two were abducted on Monday afternoon, the police have denied it, saying they are “safe” and they would not hand them over to the protesters which include their family members.
The incident has taken a political turn with leaders of RLD and the Samajwadi Party supporting the protests ahead of the elections for Block Pramukhs by the BDC members. BKU members are also supporting the protest, which has led to a traffic jam on the Panipat-Khatima highway.
Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Yogendra Singh said that his nephew Dharmendra Singh was standing outside his house at Didavali village when a group of men came and dragged him in a vehicle at gunpoint. “When villagers tried to stop them, the assailants threatened them. Two of them were in police uniform. Dharmendra’s wife reached Titawi police station to lodge an FIR for kidnapping, but the policemen refused to do so,” Dharmendra’s uncle said.
Mukeem said that his elder brother Nazim was working in the garden when a group of men arrived and started thrashing him at gunpoint. “When Nazim’s wife Ruksana tried to stop them, they beat her up. They took away Nazim in a vehicle. Two persons among the five kidnappers were wearing police uniform. The vehicle in which assailants took my brother was carrying BJP flag on the top,” Mukeem said, adding that he has received threatening calls to end the protest.
Police, however, claimed that Dharmendra and Nazim have not been abducted and referred to a viral video in which Dharmendra is purportedly saying that he is safe. Deputy Inspector General of Police (Saharanpur Range) Upendra Kumar Agarwal said: “The BDC members have not been kidnapped. Both are safe. Dharmendra’s video is also there in which he claims to be safe. A police team has been formed to meet both the BDC members and to know if there is any kind of pressure on them. Policemen will also make arrangements for them to meet their families,”
“Since BDC members are physically present, so there is no question of lodging the FIR,” he said, adding that Dharmendra has given a complaint to police that his family has been kidnapped.
On the viral video, Dharmendra’s uncle, however, said: “The abductors had forced my nephew to say those things on gunpoint. This is only done by kidnappers to divert the issue.”
RLD’s Muzaffarnagar district president Ajit Rathi said they joined the protest after the police refused to lodge a kidnapping FIR. “We are protesting against the police and state government. If the police do not file the FIR, we will decide our next course of action in a panchayat.”
Local Congress leader Subodh Sharma said their protest will continue till the police rescue the “kidnapped BDC members and release them.”
On police claims that the two BDC members were not kidnapped and are safe, Rathi said: “If no harm has been done to them, then the police should bring them to the protest site and show us.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.