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6 Cops Suspended Over Molestation, Violence In UP Before Rural Polls

A day after violent incidents were reported and two women associated with the Samajwadi Party (SP) were allegedly molested during the nomination process for the block head elections, Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday suspended six of its men, including a Circle Officer and an SHO.

In Lakhimpur Kheri district, the proposer of an SP candidate complained that she was molested and pushed around by BJP workers.

District SP president Ram Pal Yadav alleged that after misbehaving with the woman — the video of whose harassment went viral on Thursday — the BJP workers had entered the block office and removed the clothes of the SP candidate.

“Six policemen were suspended in connection with the incident on Friday,” ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said. A senior police officer in Lakhimpur Kheri district said Circle Officer (Mohamdi) Abhay Pratap Mall, SHO of the concerned police station Adar Kumar Singh, Inspector H P Yadav, and three sub-inspectors had been suspended.

Two alleged BJP supporters named Brij Kishore and Yash Verma have been arrested in connection with the incident. “A case was lodged under relevant sections. Both accused have been arrested and further action is underway,” Superintendent of Police Vijay Dhull said.

Asked if the two men belong to any party, Inspector General Lucknow Range Laxmi Singh said, “A criminal is a criminal and it doesn’t matter if they are affiliated to a party. We are identifying the other accused who were seen in the videos, and they too will be arrested soon.”

A case has been registered under sections related to rioting, undue influence or personation at an election, assault with intent to outrage a woman’s modesty, and robbery.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said women were not safe under the state’s BJP government. “The SP candidate in Lakhimpur Kheri and her proposer were harassed and her saree was pulled away. This is a black mark on democracy,” Yadav said in a statement.

“In Siddharth Nagar, Etawah, SP’s women candidates faced misbehaviour in the presence of police. In Kannauj, our female candidate was beaten up…,” he added.

In response, BJP general secretary and MP from Kannauj Subrat Pathak posted on Twitter, “After indecent behaviour with a woman in Lakhimpur Kheri, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has suspended all officers of a police station and has given instructions for strict action. Will Mr Akhilesh Yadav now resign for his wife getting elected unopposed as an MP in 2012 and for kidnapping of other candidates and giving patronage to mafia and rioters?”

A statement issued by the ADG (Law and Order) said 24 incidents of violence related to the nomination process were reported across the state on Thursday.

“Violence happened in 22 districts and we have lodged a total of 16 cases in connection with the violence. For the other incidents, no complaint was received and no case was lodged. A total of 115 people have been named in the 16 cases, out of which 25 have already been arrested and 1,730 unidentified people have been booked in the cases. Apart from Lakhimpur Kheri, we have also ordered that responsibility be fixed for the incidents and action be taken against officials,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, a 52-year-old relative of a block development committee (BDC) member was killed in election-related violence in Kherighat area of Bahraich late on Thursday night.

Four people, including the husband of a block pramukh candidate of the BJP and a police constable, have been arrested for the murder of Mayaram, the brother-in-law of BDC member Yadurai Devi.

Police said the incident occurred when Sudhir Yagya Saini, the husband of block pramukh candidate Sarita Yagya Saini, reached Yadurai Devi’s home to seek her vote for his wife. An argument broke out, and Sudhir and his associates beat Mayaram with sticks.

Police constable Jitendra Kumar, who was deployed for the security of Sarita Yagya Saini, the BJP candidate for Shivpur block pramukh, is among the arrested.

Meanwhile, the State Election Commission on Friday said that out of 825 posts, a total of 349 were elected on Friday unopposed after the nomination process ended. Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar said on Saturday, elections will be held for 476 posts.