Caste tension runs deep in UP village as BSP loyalist is killed,FIR names SP MLAhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/print/caste-tension-runs-deep-in-up-village-as-bsp-loyalist-is-killed-fir-names-sp-mla-2/

Caste tension runs deep in UP village as BSP loyalist is killed,FIR names SP MLA

Residents claimed Munna Lal,who was elected pradhan twice,never got along with the Thakurs.

Holi celebrations in Parvatipura,65 km from Agra,were cut short on Thursday when the husband of the village pradhan,who had turned away the SP candidate a month ago saying that the village would vote only for the BSP,was dragged out of his house by a mob of over 50 men and stabbed to death.

That Munna Lal,husband of pradhan Guddi Devi,was a Scheduled Caste Jatav and his assailants Upper Caste Thakurs — they are the two dominant communities in this village of Bah tehsil — has only deepened the divide. Police said the FIR names SP MLA Aridaman Singh as “conspirator” and nine others who are all absconding — the murder took place two days after the SP returned to power in Uttar Pradesh.

Residents claimed that Munna Lal,who was elected pradhan twice before getting his wife elected last year,never got along with the Thakurs.

“ Last month when SP’s Aridaman Singh came to the village for votes,Munna Lal told him that the backward community are BSP supporters and will vote only for the BSP candidate. Singh threatened to teach Munna Lal a lesson if he won,” alleged Daya Shankar,Munna Lal’s nephew. “He is the one who influenced the Thakurs,that’s why my uncle was killed.”

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Pradhan Guddi Devi said: “Around 2 pm on Holi,miscreants attacked our house. The entire village was in the fields,playing Holi. Only my husband,his second wife Meera Devi and I were in the house. We heard a commotion outside. They hurled bricks and then forced open the main door. Meera managed to hide him in a metal trunk but they dragged him out,hit him on the head and stabbed him all over. He died on his way to the zila hospital.”

Munna Lal is survived by his two wives and 11 children. The eldest daughter,Rekha,was get married on April 30.

Villagers claimed that the mob had more than 50 men. Only some were the local Thakurs while the rest were “outsiders”.

Ramsnehi,who claims to be an eyewitness to the attack,said: “The mob attacked us in the fields first,so that we could not enter the village to save Munna Lal. Two person were injured and have just been discharged from hospital.”

The Thakur quarter of the village wears a deserted look. Most men of the community disappeared after the incident. Jayshree Singh,whose husband Rajan Singh is an accused in the case,sat in the courtyard of her house while constables kept watch.

Asked about her husband,Jayshree said: “He sells potatoes and has taken the crop to Mumbai. He left much before the incident. I was away at a wedding. I have not been in touch with him but he called somebody in the village to say he had reached Mumbai.”

Some 30 PAC personnel have been deployed in the village. They also keep watch on the houses of the nine Thakurs who have been named in the FIR and are on the run.

DIG (Agra) Asim Arun told The Sunday Express: “The complainants have changed their version in the FIR four times so far. We have asked them to give one final version. Raids are being carried out in the village to arrest the nine accused but none have been traced so far. As for SP MLA Aridaman Singh’s involvement,he is named as the conspirator. We are trying to ascertain whether he did go to the village on February 25.”

In an official statement,Agra Police said Aridaman Singh’s cellphone records were being tracked to ascertain his presence in Parvatipura village on February 25,that according to the phone records accessed so far,no such visit to the village had been traced.

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Police in Agra claimed that it looked more a case of internal strife in the village. An officer said the SP MLA’s name was included in the FIR in the latest alteration.

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