The Lucknow Police on Saturday arrested All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Kadeer Khan, and two others, hours after a 50-year-old woman and her daughter, both from Amethi, set themselves on fire in front of the Vidhan Sabha building, close to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, here.
The women were admitted to Civil Hospital here. While the 28-year-old daughter suffered 15 per cent burn injuries, her mother is in critical condition with 75 per cent burns, according to doctors.
Two of those arrested are relatives of the women, while Kadeer Khan is MIM’s Amethi district president. The police are also looking for former state Congress spokesperson Anoop Patel.
The police claimed that the accused instigated the women to attempt suicide outside the Vidhan Sabha to garner attention to their grievance against the police.
According to the investigators, the women were involved in a dispute with a neighbour in their village in Amethi over water seeping through a drain. While both sides filed FIRs against each other, the women alleged that no action was taken on their complaint.
To get the police to act, the women sought help from a few local political leaders. The mother allegedly told the police that Kadeer Khan had advised her to attempt suicide in Lucknow to build pressure on the police. On July 4, the police said, she arrived at the capital with the two relatives, and they met Anoop Patel at the Congress office. Patel also allegedly advised them to attempt suicide outside Vidhan Sabha to bring attention to the case, and assured them it would be covered by the media.
Lucknow Police Commissioner Sujeet Pandey said the evidence collected so far shows the accused had instigated the women to attempt suicide, suggesting that it would prompt the police to take action. The police are also checking if others were involved, he added.
DCP (East) Dinesh Singh said four policemen in Amethi, including a sub-inspector and three constables, had been suspended for negligence of duty. A departmental inquiry has also been initiated.
The police have decided to seek custody of Kadeer Khan to find out who else was involved in the alleged crime.
The two women, along with their relatives, reached Lucknow by bus on Friday. The 50-year-old told the police that she had carried along a bucket of petrol from her house. On reaching the city, one of the relatives allegedly made calls to the media, and around 5.30 pm the woman and her daughter set themselves on fire in their relatives’ presence.
The policemen present at the spot ran towards them on seeing what was happening, and doused the flames. Soon, a video of the incident went viral on social media.
An FIR was filed under IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) against Kadeer Khan, Anoop Patel, and the women’s relatives, said police.