Updated: November 28, 2021 7:21:30 am
With the Opposition mounting pressure on the Yogi Adityanath government over the murder of four members of a Dalit family in Prayagraj, of whom a minor may have been gangraped, police have suspended two of its personnel who allegedly were forcing the family to compromise with the accused over a land deal.
The accused include several upper caste men, including Akash Singh, Babli Singh, Amit Singh, Ravi, Manish, Abhay, Raja, Ranchu, Kuldeep, Kanha Thakur and Ashok.
The administration also scrambled to contain the damage from charges that the family had been attacked earlier and was not provided help despite an FIR, with the promise of security and an arms licence to their relatives.
The bodies of the four — two children and their parents — were found Thursday morning at their house. A case was lodged under IPC Sections for gangrape and murder, as well as under the POCSO Act and SC/ST Act, against 11, of whom eight have been arrested.
Police are investigating whether the daughter was sexually assaulted, as her clothes were dishevelled.
In a complaint, a family member named in-charge of the police station that the Dalit family had approached for protection, Ram Keval Patel, and Constable Sushil Kumar Singh.
The relative said the two put pressure on the family to compromise and police helped the accused.
Patel and the constable have been suspended, a police officer said.
On Friday, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the family. The Samajwadi Party, BSP and AAP attacked the Adityanath government Saturday over the incident. While the SP called it “anti-Dalit”, Mayawati claimed that a BSP delegation led by Babulal Bhanwra had visited the spot after the incident, and found that “dabangs (musclemen) in Prayagraj are terrorising people”.
AAP said it would hold protests across all the districts of UP Sunday, and called the incident a result of the state government’s “negligence and a police-criminals nexus”. “This is bigger than the Hathras case,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, adding that the BJP government was driven by “casteist hatred”.
Prayagraj DIG Sarvashresht Tripathi said, “Eight people out of the 11 named have been arrested. The remaining two are in Mumbai, and teams have been deployed to trace and arrest them. One accused is admitted in a hospital and is not able to walk. We will question him as well. We will probe the case from all possible angles.”
Tripathi said the family’s demand for security had been accepted and that as soon as they apply, the process of granting them an arms licence would be completed. “The district administration has also announced compensation for the family,” he said.
The family members have said the victims had filed a complaint with police a couple of months ago naming the accused as part of a “land mafia” and said they had threatened to kill them. No action was reportedly taken on the FIR.
“It seems that the murders were committed over a land dispute,” a police officer said.
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