The killing of tech executive Vivek Tiwari, allegedly by a trigger-happy Uttar Pradesh police constable has sent shock waves in state capital Lucknow. People are now scared of staying out late for being “harassed” by police.
Sumonto Sen works as an executive in a company. When he got late on September 30 night because of a monthly meeting, he got over a dozen calls from his parents enquiring when he was coming home. His mother Alpona Sen, 58, told him repeatedly not to take secluded roads and to reach home by midnight.
It was routine for Sumonto to reach home late after monthly meetings. “My family is used to it. They know that monthly meetings continue till late and I reach home by 1 or 2 am. But after the killing of Vivek Tiwari, no one is willing to stay late. Even our Corporate Manager called it a day at 11 pm and asked us to leave in a group,” Sumonto told this reporter.
This fear is not limited to the corporate world; even the common man on the street is scared to go late night. Trader Manish Mishr said that during his college days, he had read a novel by Ved Prakash Sharma called Vardi Wale Gundey (thugs in uniform), but now I have seen them with my own eyes. “The cops are really behaving like goondas. Pay them bribe or they will kill you,” he alleged.
At the state secretariat, too, talk centres around the blatant killing. An elderly visitor who had come to meet the Chief Secretary said, “It is a cold-blooded murder. The cops wanted to make easy money and when he refused, they opened fire killing an innocent person. Any amount of compensation cannot fill the vacuum that one shot created in the life of the Tiwaris.”
This elderly gentleman was referring to the compensation of ₹25 lakh granted by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath after Kalpana Tiwari, wife of the deceased, called on the CM on Monday, Oct 1. The state government has also offered a job to the widow, besides gave ₹5 lakh each for the education of Tiwari’s two daughters and an additional ₹5 lakh for his elderly mother.
Public sentiments were reflected on social media, where people shared photos of posters pasted on cars saying, "Police Uncle, father will stop if you try to stop the car; please don’t shoot” have gone viral.
Meanwhile, resentment is brewing among the police. A senior official told this reporter that a batch of constables are agitated, saying that their versions have not been heard. The media is partisan, projecting the two cops who opened fire as villains but no one talks about the way Vivek Tiwari had tried to run his car over them, he alleged. Leaders of various hue are making a beeline at the residence of the Tiwaris but no was coming to listen the other side of the story, police sympathisers say.
The constables have made up their mind to contest the case of Prashant Chaudhary, the constable who opened fire on Tiwari. They have started collecting funds and by Monday, over ₹7 lakh had been deposited in the account of Chaudhary’s wife, who is also a UP police constable.
Chaudhary’s supporters claim he opened fire in self defence when Vivek tried to kill him. This claim has, however, been contradicted by the post-mortem report which says that “the bullet was fired from the front and from a close distance. The direction of the bullet was downward and backward and the bullet wound at chin was 2 cm by 1 cm.”