A day after he was killed, the family of Ashish Meghraj, 20, said he wanted to see “Behenji (BSP chief Mayawati)’’ at her rally here. Ashish’s mother, Leela, 40, said she spoke to him last at 6pm after he left for the rally. “When I had called, he told me that his stomach was hurting, but he did not tell me what had happened…’’ An hour later, she was told he had died. Leela regretted that she could not see her son during his last rites. “The police brought the body around 4am and they had everything arranged. They just took a few pieces of wood from our house and went straight to the cremation ground. They said they wanted to maintain law and order so they had to do the cremation quickly.’’
A labourer by profession, Ashish had told his mother he will buy new clothes before leaving. Leela said that 15 years back, they had put their faith in Jesus Christ. “Ashish too believed in it and read the Bible. He believed in love and forgiveness.’’
According to Rajput residents, police raided their houses at 2.30 am on Wednesday and barged into their homes picking up young men after the murder. They claimed that 15 young men were held and warned that if they are not freed, they will launch an agitation. “The women will sit on a hunger strike and we will jam the roads. We have been quiet till now but no more,” said Rambhul Singh, a Rajput resident.
Residents alleged that the police targeted one lane, where the Rajputs live. “My husband Ompal was just in his vest and police dragged him out of bed. They did not even say why they were taking him away. He is innocent,” said Urmila Devi. Residents accused the police of being partisan and irresponsible. “The administration has been completely lax. When the atmosphere was charged, why did they give permission for Mayawati’s rally. It provoked people. And the murder of that young man happened near Badgaon village and not ours. Why were our innocent boys picked up?” asked Rakesh Singh.
Rajputs alleged that police did not act against Dalits, who blocked a road when officials tried to take away Ashish’s body. “The quarrel has been started by the Dalits. But no one from their community is being arrested,’’ said Rambhul Singh. Dalits insisted the murder was pre-planned. “Can you suddenly appear with swords and guns unless you have been preparing?” said Rajkumar, a Dalit.