The Prime Minister had told BJP workers in Varanasi some time in April that they should count themselves lucky that they did not live in Bengal or Kerala. Before leaving home, BJP workers in the two states, the PM had claimed, would ask their mothers to keep the party’s flag flying if they failed to return and were killed.
“Our party members work in Bengal and Kerala under the shadow of bombs, guns and pistols,” Modi said. Ironically, within weeks of the statement, several BJP workers and RSS ‘volunteers’ in Uttar Pradesh seem to have been killed in the BJP-ruled state. But while the BJP is vocal about political violence in Bengal and Kerala, BJP leaders have been silent on these killings in the state.
The BJP in Bengal hit the streets in Birbhum over the alleged murder of a BJP worker, Swarup Garai. Dilip Ghosh, BJP’s state chief, said, “The state police have failed to prevent the anti-social elements from killing our party workers.” Determined to take the body out in a procession through a particular route, BJP leaders in Bengal got into a spat with Trinamool leaders who blamed BJP’s penchant for drama. But in UP, the BJP has been curiously subdued to the murder of its workers. There was not even a murmur when Rakesh Sharma (38), a divisional general secretary of the pary’s Hapur unit, was killed on September 9. Sharma was on his way to school from his village Karanpur Jatt under Dhaulana police station when three unidentified persons in a car intercepted him near Sapnawat police station and pumped three bullets into his chest.
A biker rushed him to a local Community Health Centre from where he was referred to a private hospital which declared him dead on arrival. The deceased was working in a government school in Chhajjupur village and was known for his intense organisational work in the area for the BJP. Hapur’s superintendent of police, Yeshveer Singh, claimed police had received a lead in the case and hoped to nab the culprits soon. The deceased’s family members said that he had a scuffle with some people of the area a few months ago which might have led to the murder. On September 5, Kapoor Singh alias Kallu (45) and his friend Bachha Singh Gaur (65) of Girasi village in Ghatampur area of Kanpur district were shot dead. Eyewitnesses told the police that two motorcycle-borne assailants first hit the two with a heavy wooden stick from behind, and when they fell to the ground, they were shot. Both died on the spot. The police have said it could be the result of an enmity between two gangs of land grabbers as there were cases against the deceased.
SP, Kanpur Rural, Praduman Singh told the media that half a dozen cases were registered against the deceased BJP leader and his friend. Kapoor and Bachcha were named in an FIR relating to the murder of one Vijay Singh of Raha village in Ghatampur in May 2011. They were going to court to appear in the same case when they were killed.
Sompal Saini (40), in-charge of the intellectual wing of the RSS in Habibpur area of Muzaffarnagar, was shot at on August 29. Saini had gone to his agricultural field in the morning when two people hiding there fired at him and ran away. The villagers heard the gunshot and rushed him to a local hospital from where he was referred to Meerut’s medical college. Saini is now recovering. Surendra Singh (50), a BJP leader of Amethi, was shot dead in front of his house in village Baraulia on May 26. Union Textile Minister and local MP Smriti Irani had attended his funeral but didn’t question the law and order situation in the state. Rahul Verma (30), a Bajrang Dal leader of Mahoba, had been found dead on October 2, 2018. His angry supporters had ransacked the district hospital where the post-mortem was going on. But senior BJP leaders chose to ignore the incident. “It is not that we are ignorant about such cases,” said a BJP leader of UP on condition of anonymity. “Amit Shah, our national president, summoned CM Yogi Adityanath twice in a week and asked him uncomfortable questions. We can expect some improvement in the situation in the coming months,” he added.