"The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), the Lekhpal and others set the house on fire. We were inside. My father and I somehow managed to come out. My mother and sister were charred to death. After the fire, the officials fled from the scene," an inconsolable Shivam Dixit said.
In an anti-encroachment drive gone awry in Madauli village in Uttar Predesh's Kanpur, Shivam's mother Pramila Dixit (44) and sister Neha Dixit (21) were charred to death in the afternoon of Monday, 13 February, after being "trapped" in a thatched hut.
Pramila's husband Krishan Gopal Dixit also sustained burn injuries in the incident, but his condition is said to be stable.
The incident took place in the Rura police station limits.
The family of the deceased have alleged that the makeshift hut was set on fire by the officials of the revenue and police department led by SDM Gyaneshwar Prasad.
Soon after, senior police officials including Kanpur Dehat superintendent of police BBGTS Moorty, Kanpur ADG (Zone) Alok Singh reached the spot to take stock of situation on the ground.
Relatives and family members of the mother-daughter duo who allegedly died after they immolated themselves during an anti-encroachment drive on Monday, sit on dharna, in Kanpur Dehat district.
The family of the deceased have alleged that the makeshift hut was allegedly set on fire by the officials of the revenue and police department led by sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Gyaneshwar Prasad.
Family Was Facing a Bulldozer for the Second Time
The family claimed that the authorities were acting in connivance with their rivals. Last month on 14 January, the victim's house was allegedly razed by the authorities citing complaints of illegal construction on "gram sabha" land.
During the demolition, authorities had spared a thatched hut and had asked the family to remove it. The family approached senior officials for relief but to no avail. A month after the first round of demolition, authorities, flanked by bulldozer, again turned up on 13 February.
Shivam in his complaint has alleged that their makeshift hut was razed by the bulldozer and set on fire at the behest of SDM Prasad. In a purported video that surfaced online, women inside a hut can be heard screaming and vehemently protesting while cops and revenue department officials at the spot give directions to clear encroachment.
Meanwhile, a high-level probe has been initiated.
Based on the complaint, a First Information Report (FIR) under murder and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against SDM Prasad, station officer Dinesh Kumar Gautam, rivals of the aggrieved family from the village and unnamed officials of the revenue and police department. No arrest has been so far, senior officials of the state police department confirmed.
'Bulldozer a Symbol of BJP’s Illegal Power'
Samajwadi Party has launched a scathing attack at the ruling dispensation over the incident. Demanding strict punishment to the accused in the case, a tweet by Samajwadi Party read, "BJP has made Bulldozer a symbol to show its illegal power! In Kanpur Dehat, SDM and Lekhpal demolished the poor family's house with bulldozer, mother daughter burnt alive due to fire. The entire state is shocked by this heart-wrenching incident. Accused should be punished severely."
An 11-member delegation of the party led by leader Manoj Pandey will be going to the spot and meet the surviving family members on 14 February. The delegation will later submit its report in the state office.
Congress also attacked the Yogi government alleging its bulldozer policy claimed two lives. "Yogi government's bulldozer ran over the house of a Brahmin family in Kanpur, UP. Peeved by the demolition, mother-daughter set themselves ablaze," an excerpt of a tweet by Congress read.