HEAD Constable Suresh Vats, 49, died on Saturday after being hit by a stone by a mob in Nonhahara police station area of Ghazipur, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in the district.
Police said protesters belonging to the Nishad Party had blocked a road demanding release of four of their party workers, who had been arrested earlier in the day for staging a protest. When a police team reached to remove the blockade near the Atwara police outpost, the protesters started pelting stones, leading to injuries to five, including Vats.
The Head Constable was rushed to hospital, where he died during treatment. The other four injured, who are in a stable condition, include two police constables and two civilians. A native of Pratapgarh district, Vats was posted at Karimuddinpur police station in Ghazipur. Nine persons have so far been detained in connection with Vats’s death, Inspector General of Police, Varanasi Range, Vijay Singh Meena said. This is the second incident this month of a policeman dying in a mob attack in Uttar Pradesh. On December 3, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh had been killed in Bulandshahr district by protesters angry over alleged cow slaughter.
The Ghazipur incident took place around 14 km from where the PM’s rally was held, Meena said. First, in the afternoon, Nishad Party workers blocked a road in protest, following which four people were arrested and booked under Section 151 of the CrPC (breach of peace). While the reason for the protest was not known, the IGP said, “We recovered a pamphlet from the protest site in which a demand for reservation was mentioned.”
At around 5.30 pm, police came to know that around 100-150 people had blocked a road near the Atwara police outpost seeking release of the four. Police also came to know that several vehicles with people coming back from the PM’s rally were stuck due to the blockade.
“Nishad Party workers had heated arguments with the people returning from the rally. There was a minor scuffle too between them. Protesters refused to clear the path until their four associates were released,” said Station House Officer, Nonhahara police station, Indra Rakesh Mishra. In the meantime, teams reached the spot from several police stations, including Karimuddinpur. “Suddenly, Nishad Party workers started pelting stones. A stone hit Suresh Vats on his head and he fell to the ground,” added Mishra.
Police later removed the blockade using mild force and detained nine persons from the spot, said a police officer. IG Meena emphasised that the PM’s rally had nothing to do with the death of the Head Constable. “The rally ended at around 2 pm and people blocked the road at 5.30 pm.” Superintendent of Police, Ghazipur, Yesh Veer Singh said, “We have recovered two cellphones from the spot, suspected to be belonging to people protesting at the site. When we checked the cellphones, we found several videos of the protest. We are identifing people involved in the incident from it.”
Singh added that they had heard that along with Nishad Party workers, “a few miscreants also blocked the road in the evening”. Nishad Party national president Sanjay Nishad could not be contacted.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced Rs 40 lakh as compensation for Vats’s wife.