Political murders

What's behind the spate of attacks on BJP members in Uttar Pradesh

There have been five attacks on BJP leaders in nine days. Though the police deny it, the party says this is an attempt by the Samajwadi Party to take revenge for the Lok Sabha results.

The Bharatiya Janata Party might have swept Uttar Pradesh in the recent Lok Sabha election, but the northern state has turned into dangerous territory for its leaders. In just nine days, there have been five attacks on BJP leaders across the state. Three have been killed. There have also been reports of smaller clashes with party workers that have led to injuries and one death.

What's going on?

In UP, the BJP has turned its sights squarely on the ruling Samajwadi Party. The SP has always had a bit of a lenient approach to law and order, so the BJP is claiming that attacks are the ruling party’s way of getting back at them for their electoral successes. The SP, expectedly, has dismissed this as “baseless allegations”.

Uttar Pradesh Police, meanwhile, have pointed to various specific causes for each of the incidents, rather than attributing them to some sort of political vendetta.

“It is difficult to say, but one thing is certain, during and after this election there was a lot of bitterness from the SP towards the BJP because of their success in the elections,” said Ajai Raj Sharma, a former police commissioner of Delhi who has also served as an additional director general of police in UP.

“The SP is very upset about the fact that the BJP has come to power, and they want to ensure that the same thing won’t be repeated in the coming elections," Sharma said. "They have no hesitation attacking them, since they have their own government, because they think they will be able to manipulate the police and rowdies are always present to loot or fight anyone.”

However, Sharma warned that this strategy could backfire if UP's citizens ask for the SP to be restrained. “If the people demand their dismissal, and the governor also sends a report, life would become very very difficult for them, and who knows, President’s Rule might have to be invoked,” he said.

Here’s a rundown of the attacks that have taken place in the last few days.

June 15: Devendra Sharma, attacked in Mathura
At 2 am, unidentified youngsters in Mathura district’s Govind Nagar area entered the home of Devendra Sharma, the BJP’s general secretary for the Braj region. The goons opened fire on Sharma’s 63-year-old mother Susheela, who was sleeping on the porch. Although a bullet did hit her left hand, she is now in a stable condition. Devendra denied any involvement of servants in the case.

June 14: Rakesh Kumar Rastogi, body found in Bareilly
A long-time associate of the party from Uttarakhand, Rakesh Kumar Rastogi’s body was found inside a car in the Baheri area of Bareilly. He had once served as the BJP's vice-president in the Kicha block in Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand. While some believe his body may simply have been dumped in UP, others have maintained that “prima facie” the killing couldn’t have been a pure political rivalry because Rastogi was not very active in the party any longer.

June 14: Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, attacked in Fatehpur
The BJP MP from Fatehpur and her supporters were attacked by several people at a function in the Civil Lines area. The police originally accused Bhanu Singh Patel, who had previously been a worker for the BJP’s youth wing, of being behind the attack. But Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said that Patel is a member of the SP and told the Indian Express that “they attacked because they wanted to eliminate me”.

June 11: Punit Singhal, shot and injured in Bulandshahr
Police say BJP party worker Punit Singhal, who had a stationery shop in the local market, was shot at when he tried to intervene in a dispute between tenants and owners of a neighbouring store. He was taken to the hospital soon after and declared out of danger.

June 10: Veer Singh, shot and killed in Muzaffarnagar
Unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle pulled up behind Om Veer Singh while he was riding his own motorbike in his village, Mirapur, and shot him five times. Singh, a former army officer and the Panchayati Raj co-convenor for the BJP in Muzaffarnagar, tried to defend himself with a licensed revolver but was gunned down and left for dead.

The local Station House Officer claimed the shooting was the result of a financial dispute, since Singh allegedly owed money to a number of people in the area. Police have arrested one of the two assailants as well as four doctors of a local hospital who allegedly gave the man shelter.

June 7: Vijay Pandit, shot and killed in Dadri
The 37-year-old leader who was in charge of the BJP's campaign in the Gautam Budh Nagar area was standing outside his house on June 7, when three people on two motorcycles pulled up and fired five shots at him. Soon after being taken to the nearby hospital, Vijay Pandit was declared dead.

His supporters went on a rampage afterwards, torching cars and buses. They claimed that he was killed because of a campaign against extortionist traders in the Dadri area. Pandit was also a well-known Hindutva face, regularly taking out protests about alleged atrocities committed against Hindus.

However, the police have arrested five people and have traced the attack back to a 2012 murder in which Pandit was said to have been encouraging witnesses to go to court rather than allowing the accused families’ to push for a settlement. For now, the police claim there is no evidence to prove that the incident was politically motivated.
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content  BY 

Want to retire at 45? Make your money work for you

Common sense and some discipline are all you need.

Dreaming of writing that book or taking that cruise when you hit your 40s? Well, this dream need not be unrealistic.

All it takes is simple math and the foresight to do some smart financial planning when you are still young. If you start early and get into the discipline of cutting down on unnecessary expenditure, using that money to invest systematically, you can build wealth that sets you free to tick those items off your bucket list sooner than later.

A quick look at how much you spend on indulgences will give you an idea of how much you can save and invest. For example, if you spend, say Rs. 1,000 on movie watching per week, this amount compounded over 10 years means you would have spent around Rs 7,52,000 on just movies! You can try this calculation for yourself. Think of any weekly or monthly expense you regularly make. Now use this calculator to understand how much these expenses will pile up overtime with the current rate of inflation.

Now imagine how this money could have grown at the end of 10 years and overcome the inflation effect if you had instead invested a part of it somewhere!

It is no rocket science

The fact is that financial planning is simpler than we imagine it to be. Some simple common sense and a clear prioritization of life’s goals is all you need:

  1. Set goals and work backwards: Everything starts with what you want. So, what are your goals? Are they short-term (like buying a car), medium-term (buying a house) or long-term (comfortable living post-retirement). Most of us have goals that come under all the three categories. So, our financial plans should reflect that. Buying a house, for example, would mean saving up enough money for up-front payment and ensuring you have a regular source of income for EMI payment for a period of at least 15-20 years. Buying a car on the other hand might just involve having a steady stream of income to pay off the car loan.
  2. Save first, spend later: Many of us make the mistake of putting what is left, after all our expenses have been met, in the savings kitty. But the reverse will have more benefits in the long run. This means, putting aside a little savings, right at the beginning of the month in the investment option that works best for you. You can then use the balance to spend on your expenditures. This discipline ensures that come what may, you remain on track with your saving goals.
  3. Don’t flaunt money, but use it to create more: When you are young and get your first jobit is tempting to spend on a great lifestyle. But as we’ve discussed, even the small indulgences add up to a serious amount of cash over time. Instead, by regulating indulgences now and investing the rest of your money, you can actually become wealthy instead of just seeming to be so.
  4. Set aside emergency funds: When an emergency arises, like sudden hospitalisation or an accident, quick access to money is needed. This means keeping aside some of your money in liquid assets (accessible whenever you want it). It thus makes sense to regularly save a little towards creating this emergency fund in an investment that can be easily liquidated.
  5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: This is something any investment adviser will tell you, simply because different investment options come with different benefits and risks and suit different investment horizons. By investing in a variety of instruments or options, you can hedge against possible risks and also meet different goals.

How and Why Mutual Funds work

A mutual fund is a professionally managed investment scheme that pools money collected from investors like you and invests this into a diversified portfolio (an optimal mix) of stocks, bonds and other securities.

As an investor, you buy ‘units’, under a mutual fund scheme. The value of these units (Net Asset Value) fluctuates depending on the market value of the mutual fund’s investments. So, the units can be bought or redeemed as per your needs and based on the value.

As mentioned, the fund is managed by professionals who follow the market closely to make calls on where to invest money. This makes these funds a great option for someone who isn’t financially very savvy but is interested in saving up for the future.

So how is a mutual fund going to help to meet your savings goals? Here’s a quick Q&A helps you understand just that:

  1. How do mutual funds meet my investment needs? Mutual Funds come with a variety of schemes that suit different goals depending on whether they are short-term, medium-term or long-term.
  2. Can I withdraw money whenever I want to? There are several mutual funds that offer liquidity – quick and easy access to your money when you want it. For example, there are liquid mutual funds which do not have any lock in period and you can invest your surplus money even for one day. Based on your goals, you can divide your money between funds with longer term or shorter term benefits.
  3. Does it help save on taxes? Investing in certain types of mutual funds also offers you tax benefits. More specifically, investing in Equity Linked Saving Schemes, which are funds that invest in a diverse portfolio of equities, offers you tax deductions up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
  4. Don’t I need a lot of money to invest in MFs? No, you can start small. The returns in terms of percentage is the same irrespective of the amount you invest in. Additionally, the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) allows you to invest a small amount weekly, monthly or quarterly in a mutual fund. So, you get to control the size and frequency of your investment and make sure you save before you spend.
  5. But aren’t MFs risky? Well many things in life are risky! Mutual funds try to mitigate your risk by investing your money across a variety of securities. You can further hedge risk by investing in 2 to 3 mutual offers that offer different growth stories i.e. a blue-chip fund and a mid-cap fund. Also remember in a mutual fund, your money is being managed by professionals who are constantly following the market.
  6. Don’t I have to wait too long to get back my returns? No! Mutual Funds, because of the variety of options they offer, can give you gains in the short or medium term too.

The essence of mutual funds is that your money is not lying idle, but is dynamically invested and working for you. To know more about how investing in mutual funds really works for you, see here.

Disclaimer: Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mutual Funds Sahi Hai and not by the Scroll editorial team.