Two unidentified assailants on Thursday shot dead a 42-year-old lawyer point blank while he was on his way to the Allahabad district court, where he practiced. Rajesh Srivastav was shot in his head while he was riding his bike to the court. “CCTV footage from a nearby building shows around 10 30 am, a bike with two men wearing helmets riding up from behind Rajesh Srivastava and suddenly Srivastava’s bike falls to the ground. This was a spot near Manmohan park. Srivastava died on the spot, he took two bullets on his left temple,’’ said a police officer. He was declared dead at a nearby hospital.
Pradeep Jaiswal, a hotel owner, was arrested in connection with the murder. Sources said Jaiswal owns a hotel in Srivastava’s Daraganj neighbourhood. “There was some dispute between the two over a portion of the hotel encroaching on Srivastav’s land. The two had a spat on Thursday morning over the issue.”
The murder sparked outrage with lawyers blocking roads in protest. A public bus was set afire. Allahabad High Court lawyers called for a strike to protest against the “worsening law and order situation in the state”.
“A motion was passed to call a strike and suspend work for the second half of Thursday in the high court to protest the worsening law and order situation,’’ Allahabad High Court Bar Council member Satyaveer Singh said.
The state government announced Rs 20 lakh compensation for Srivastava’s family.
Opposition Samajwadi Party’s Phulpur MP Nagender Patel condemned the murder and promised Rs 50 lakh compensation for Srivastav’s family.
Uttar Pradesh police chief O P Singh, who was in Allahabad to inspect preparations for the Kumbh, said they were investigating the case and arrests will be made soon. “The motive is being probed. As of now, its appears to be a land dispute case.”
He dismissed concerns over worsening law and order situation. “The law and order is very good in the state. A few incidents happen and questions are raised. But the law and order is good.”
Srivastav’s murder came a day after two bike-borne assailants shot dead a BJP corporator in the neighbouring Phulpur area.