The police on Saturday said the accused in the killing of a man in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district will be charged under the National Security Act and the Gangster Act, PTI reported.
This came a day after local Bharatiya Janata Party leader Dhirendra Pratap Singh allegedly shot dead the 45-year-old man, in the presence of senior government officials and police, after a dispute broke out between two groups during a village meeting over the selection process of a government ration shop in Ballia.
“A cash reward of Rs 50,000 has been announced on each of the absconding accused,” Deputy Inspector General of Police of Azamgarh Range Subhash Chandra Dubey said. “Action will also be initiated under the National Security Act and the Gangster Act against the accused.”
Under the National Security Act, a person can be detained for months if the authorities feel that the individual is a threat to national security, law and order. The government can also withhold information which it considers to be against public interest to disclose when providing the grounds for an arrest. Meanwhile, under Section 14 of the Gangsters Act, a district magistrate can order attachment of a property if they have a reason to believe it has been acquired by a gangster as commission for an offence.
Singh, along with five others accused in the case, are absconding. The police have so far arrested two people, including the brother of the BJP leader. Five others have been detained in connection with the incident.
After the shooting, BJP MLA Surendra Singh defended his party colleague, saying it was as an act of “self-defence” and accused the administration of “one-sided” investigation. Singh had also claimed that had the accused not opened fire, dozens of his family members would have been killed.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had suspended the personnel and officials present at the meeting. The incident also sparked a political blame game in the state. “The people in power are defying authorities openly,” the Samajwadi Party tweeted. “A horrific incident that defied law and order in Ballia has come to light where a BJP leader shot and killed a young man Jai Prakash Pal in front of SDM [sub divisional magistrate] and CO [circle officer]. The BJP leader also escaped after being shot in front of the police.”
Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party leader Om Prakash Rajbhar also criticised the Adityanath government for the incident. “BJP leaders are killing people in the open,” he tweeted. “The fear of the law and administration has ended in UP.