A BJP panel that visited Ballia district Sunday said “the police in the district — especially of Narhi police station — is involved in animal trafficking”, and that police had lathicharged and opened fire on an agitating mob there on Friday with the aim to “murder” party MLA Upendra Tiwari.
Tiwari was leading a protest by BJP leaders at the police station demanding quashing of an FIR against one Chandrama Yadav, who was booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and on charges of cow-slaughtering after the Ballia police seized a truck carrying three cows and two calves. BJP worker Vinod Rai had died allegedly in police efforts to control the mob, while Tiwari had sustained injuries to his head and elbow.
Police registered an FIR against 44 named persons including MLA Tiwari and 300-400 unidentified persons for creating a ruckus outside the police station.
The BJP panel included Rajya Sabha MP and state vice-president Shiv Patap Shukla, Lok Sabha MPs Bharat Singh, Ravindra Kushwaha and Neelam Sonkar, MLA Janmejay Singh, state general secretary Vijay Bahadur Pathak and vice-president Rakesh Trivedi.
On Friday morning, police stopped a truck carrying a cow and calf at Mathia village. The driver and another person in the truck, suspected to be Chandrama, had fled. Tiwari had led the mob to the police station the same evening. While MLA Tiwari said Chandrama could be called a BJP worker, BJP vice-president Trivedi said he was a party “supporter”.
BJP MP Shukla told The Indian Express Sunday that the staff of the police station was itself involved in animal trafficking and had lodged a baseless FIR against Chandrama. “Chandrama Yadav had purchased five cows and he had receipts. But still police took away the cows from his house. One of these cows delivered a calf at the police station,” Shukla said, seeking a judicial inquiry.
Accusing police of “planning to kill” Tiwari, he added, “When police started the lathicharge on the MLA, he was staging a peaceful dharna. Party workers Vinod Rai and Munna Bahadur tried to cover him. Police opened fire to kill Tiwari but the bullet hit Rai.”
The BJP panel demanded that the state government give Rs 50 lakh to Rai’s family, apart from a government job to one of its members. The others injured should get financial relief of Rs 2 lakh each, the party demanded.
Tiwari said Chandrama was a pashu-palak (cattle-rearer) and “could be called a BJP worker” as Yadav had been working with him for the past six months.
Alleging that police were acting on the directive of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), the MLA said Yadav had called him on Friday morning and said police had taken away five milch cows from his house the previous night and lodged a baseless FIR against him. About police reports that the mob had gone on a rampage and opened fire too, Tiwari said he would retire from politics if anyone could prove that a single stone was thrown by those staging the dharna.
Circle Officer, Sadar, Babu Lal Yadav said they were trying to determine if Chandrama, who belongs to Mathia village, was the same Chandrama Yadav who had been booked by Mau police in 2014 on charges of cow-slaughter along with brother Prabhu Nath Yadav. The Yadav brothers are also residents of Mathia. The SHO of Narahi police station, Rajesh Yadav, has been suspended. He has been replaced by Sub-Inspector Neeraj Kumar Pathak.