The family members of 50-year-old Surendra Singh, a former pradhan of the village, alleged the hand of locals affiliated to the Congress who had old enmity with Singh. The FIR names five and mentions other unidentified villagers. Police, which is looking at several angles including a dispute arising from panchayat elections, is yet to make any arrest.
As per a PTI report, Irani, who rushed to the village along with other BJP leaders and helped carry Singh’s body for the last rites, said he was killed so that Amethi could be “terrorised, disintegrated and made to bow down”. She promised action against “the person who pulled the trigger” as well as “the one who ordered the killing”.
While asking party workers to “exercise restraint”, Irani questioned Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s remark, after she had defeated him from Amethi. “On (May) 23, I was given a message that ‘take care of Amethi with love’. To the person who gave me the message, I would like to say that I have received the message loud and clear,” she said.
Gandhi had said, “I would like that Smriti Iraniji takes care of Amethi with love and I hope that she will reward the trust that Amethi’s people have reposed in her.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed UP DGP O P Singh to take “severe” and “effective” action and arrest the culprits within 12 hours. Heavy police force has been deployed at Baraulia to avert any untoward incident.
Superintendent of Police, Amethi, Rajesh Kumar said prima facie the murder appeared to be the fallout of an old dispute between Singh and some local residents. “There were several disputes, including regarding the panchayat election. The investigation has begun and we are working on a few lines,” Kumar said, adding that Singh faced no criminal case. Police have detained six villagers for questioning.
Surendra’s elder brother Narendra Bahadur, who filed the FIR, told The Indian Express that on Saturday night, Singh had gone to sleep in the verandah outside his house along with his nephew Anurag Singh (25). Other family members, including Singh’s wife Roopmani and son Abhay Pratap Singh, were away.
“Around midnight, Anurag heard a sound and woke up. He saw four-five persons running and Singh on the ground, next to his bed,” said Narendra, adding that Anurag raised an alarm. Singh was rushed to the district hospital, which referred him to Lucknow for treatment. Doctors in Lucknow declared him brought dead. The postmortem report states he was shot in the head.
Claiming the involvement of Congress supporters in the village who had enmity with Singh, Narendra said, “I believe they were angry with him as he took out a Vijay Yatra in the village after Smriti Irani won.”
Singh, a farmer, is survived by his wife and three children, including two married daughters. His son Abhay Pratap runs a building materials shop in the village.
While BJP Amethi district president Durgesh Tripathi said Singh had actively participated in Irani’s Lok Sabha campaign, Congress MLC Deepak Singh denied the killing was over political rivalry and that Congress workers could be involved.
Vowing to ensure justice for Singh, Irani told the media at Barauli, “Aaj Surendra Singhji ki patni, unke bete, unke parivar ke saamne maine swayam ek sankalp liya hai ki jisne goli chalai aur jisne goli chalane ka aadesh diya, police apni karyawahi karegi aur agar unko saza-e-maut dilwane ke liye, nivedan hetu mujhe Supreme Court tak jaana pade, toh hum sab karyakarta Supreme Court ka darwaza khat-khatayenge (Today, I have myself taken an oath before Singh’s wife, son and family that police will act against the one who fired and the one who ordered it, and if I have to go to the Supreme Court to get a death sentence, then we party workers will go to the Supreme Court)… Even if the killers are hiding beneath the ground, they will be caught and brought to justice.”
She added, “The bereaved family of the BJP bows its head before the departed soul of Surendra Singh, and the family of 11 crore BJP workers is standing with his family.”