Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Video Input: Vivek Mishra
An anti-encroachment drive on government land at a village in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur turned fatal, claiming the lives of two women in a fire on Monday, 13 February.
The incident took place in Maitha village of Kanpur where a mother-daughter duo died, they've been identified as Pramila Dixit (45) and Neha (20).
How did the blaze start? While the exact cause of the fire is yet unknown, the family of the deceased claimed that the authorities set fire to their hut while the women were still inside.
The police, meanwhile, claimed that the two women set themselves ablaze.
Pramila's husband Krishna Gopal Dixit and SHO Dinesh Gautam were injured while trying to save the victims.
The police, along with district administration and revenue officials, were reportedly present at the site when the incident took place.
What the family members and villagers said: Villagers said that the authorities showed up at the site with a bulldozer and that they hadn't been informed of the anti-encroachment drive.
The family has put forth certain demands after the incident:
A pension of Rs 5 crore from the UP government
Government jobs for two family members and lifetime pension
Permanent housing for the two sons of the deceased
A meeting with CM Yogi Adityanath
"They started the fire while people were still inside. We were just about able to escape. They broke our temple. Nobody did anything, not even the DM (District Magistrate). Everybody ran, nobody could save my mother," said Shivam Dixit, son of the deceased.
What action has been taken in the case? A case has been been registered against 9 named and 30 unnamed accused, including the subdivisional magistrate (SDM) and the driver of the bulldozer.
The case has been registered under the following sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):
302 (punishment for murder)
307 (attempt to murder)
436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc)
429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc)
323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt)
34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention)
The SDM has been suspended.
"From what we are getting to know, a woman and her daughter locked themselves inside the hut and set it on fire, which has resulted in their death. We have reached the spot. All the officials concerned are also here. We will investigate and if there is any wrongdoing, we won't spare the guilty."Superintendent of Police (SP) BBGTS Murthy
Meanwhile, UP Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak said, "Those found guilty will not be spared. A probe committee has been constituted which will submit its report today (14 February)," reported ANI.
"As per CM’s instruction, Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak has spoken to kin of victims through video conferencing. The family have raised few demands. He has given the instruction to carry out procedures so that their demands can be met," said Rajshekhar, Commissioner of Police (Kanpur).
"The administration is providing all the assistance to the victim's family. The family has given its permission to further carry out the post-mortem of both victims," he added.