The BJP may have launched a full-blooded attack against the SP government in Uttar Pradesh, after the murder of their Muzaffarnagar ‘leader’ Om Vir Singh, but his family said that he wasn’t sufficiently ‘involved’ in politics for the murder to be related to his ‘political affiliations’.
Singh was the vice-president of BJP’s city committee for Mirapur Assembly segment.
“His death couldn’t have anything to do with his BJP affiliations,” said his younger brother Shyam Vir Singh, adding that he had joined the party officially a year ago and “there are others in the village who were more likely to be targeted, if this had to be related to politics”.
Singh’s cousin Kunwar Pal Shastri referred to himself as one such ‘target’. An Arya Samaj worker and affiliated with the RSS, Shastri had campaigned extensively for the BJP prior to the elections. “Om Vir was here every day after working in the fields. We rarely talked politics. He was not involved enough in politics to be called a ‘leader’ and to be singled out for a politically motivated murder,” he said.
The police investigation so far indicate that the murder was a result of ‘financial reasons’.
Singh managed to shoot and injure one of the assailants who gunned him down. The injured assailant was arrested and identified by the police as Monu, a history sheeter. “He’s a known criminal and has been involved in extortion and loot related killings,” said H N Singh,SSP, Muzaffarnagar.
Om Vir Singh was appointed to the post in 2013 by BJP’s Muzaffarnagar president Satya Pal Sharma because of his family’s affiliations and the respect he commanded as an Armyman. Singh’s father, Shobha Ram, formerly pradhan of their ancestral village, Nangla Khepar, was a BJP sympathiser and a supporter of local BJP leader Hukum Singh. “Because of his father and his ability to command, I chose Singh when, as the new president, I had to appoint people for the district’s party structures,” said Sharma.
Several BJP supporters came to Singh’s native village on Wednesday to offer their condolence. While the narrow lane outside his residence was lined with cars bearing BJP’s lotus symbol. Inside, the only sign of the family’s affiliation was a BJP calendar in Singh’ room, issued during the 2012 Assembly campaigning. “He was never concerned with politics. He’d go out of his way to help people, irrespective of which party or community they belonged to,” said Singh’s father.