Police Arrest Main Accused in Allahabad Law Student’s Murder
Uttar Pradesh Police on Wednesday, 14 February, arrested Vijay Shankar, the main accused in the murder of law student Dileep Saroj – who was a Dalit. Police have also said that the accused appears to be linked to politician and strongman Chandra Bhadra Singh or Sonu Singh.
Saroj, a 26-year-old student at the Allahabad Central University, died on Sunday, 11 February, after being physically assaulted following an altercation outside a restaurant in Allahabad. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Tuesday, 13 February, announced a Rs 20 lakh compensation to his family soon after former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav slammed him for “a complete breakdown of law and order” in the state.
According to an NDTV report, the Allahabad police have mentioned of Vijay Shankar's connections with Sonu Singh, who hails from Sultanpur district and has served as a lawmaker. The accused also belongs to Sultanpur.
Before the accused's arrest, a senior police officer was quoted by NDTV as saying:
The report goes on to say that Sonu Singh was associated with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and later joined the BJP in 2013. However, after not getting a ticket to contest the UP elections last year, Singh joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh. The politician has been involved in criminal cases of rioting and murder, the police told NDTV.
Angry Students Stage Protest
Following Saroj’s death, angry students of the Allahabad Central University set ablaze a city bus and protested across the city on Monday, 12 February.
According to ANI, several units of the police and Rapid Action Force were deployed around the campus, in an attempt to contain the protests.
Saroj, a second year LLB student, on Sunday had succumbed to his injuries two days after he was thrashed by a group. He was beaten with an iron rod and bricks after an altercation that started when main accused Vijay Shankar accidentally brushed against him while entering the Kalika Restaurant in Karnalganj area, NDTV reported.
The assault was captured on the phones of bystanders and was widely shared on social media.
Munna Chauhan, a waiter at the restaurant, hit Saroj on his head with an iron rod, the police told the news channel. The same waiter is seen on camera picking up the unconscious Dilip to take him to hospital. The waiter has also been reportedly arrested.
Earlier, senior superintendent of police Akash Kulhari told PTI:
On the basis of a complaint lodged by Saroj’s brother, an FIR was registered against three accused. The footage was examined and on that basis the prime accused was identified as Vijay Shankar Singh who works as a ticket checker in the Indian Railways. Singh is still at large.Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhari
NDTV added that two policemen were suspended for not taking action though their patrol car was just about 100 metres from the spot of the incident.
Saroj was from a Dalit family in the Hathigawa area of Pratapgarh, a Hindustan Times report said. His brother Mahesh Chandra Saroj filed an FIR at Colonelganj police station.
Following a backlash launched by opposition parties, all of whom blamed the BJP for propagating ‘casteist politics’, a three-member committee was set up to meet and speak to Saroj’s family, reported ANI.
Noisy Scenes in UP Council; Mayawati, Akhilesh Condemn The Murder
The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council on 12 February witnessed noisy scenes over the death of the Dalit student in Allahabad.
Leader of Opposition and SP member Ahmed Hasan raised the incident as soon as the Question Hour started.
He alleged that even though such incidents with Dalits were taking place all across the country, the government had remained silent.
BSP chief Mayawati alleged that the killing of Saroj in Allahabad was the result of a narrow and casteist politics of hatred being pursued by the state's ruling party.
The BSP chief, who sent her state unit chief Ram Achal Rajbhar to meet the bereaved family in Allahabad, had asked the state government to ensure the immediate arrest of the culprits and help to the family.
Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav said the murder was an indication of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
(With inputs from PTI)