Dheerendra Singh, the main accused in the daylight shootout in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia and reportedly a close aide of BJP MLA Surendra Singh, released a video on Saturday claiming that he was being framed as “no bullet was fired by him” and his family was, in fact, “harassed”.
“SDO Suresh Pal and CO Chandrakesh Singh, BDO Gajendra Singh Yadav and SI Sadanand Yadav were all present at the public meeting. Earlier, I had apprised the SDO and BDO several times that the atmosphere is bad, so on what basis do they want to give quota? Then I was told that the side with more people, will get the quota. There were 1500 people on my side and only 300 from the other. I told the officers about the possibility of a ruckus, but they rubbished it,” Singh said from hiding.
“Then, the SDO said my party won’t be allocated ration as it has more people. So, I confronted him saying that it was him who had earlier mentioned about getting more people,” he added.
Accusing the top officials of “colluding with the other party”, Singh said that Pal and Yadav are “conspiring to frame” him. “I did not fire any shot and I have no idea whose bullet killed Jai Prakash Pal. My 80-year-old father fell down. Some people attacked my sister-in-law, while some people started firing,” he said.
“A meeting was deliberately organised near the Panchayat Bhavan, which is closer to the residences of those from the other party. When the fighting and stone pelting started, I was standing next to the SDO and CO and requested them to check the situation, but they stood and watched,” he alleged, adding that the administration is now “harassing his family and vandalising the house.
On Thursday, a youth was shot dead during the shootout in front of local administrative officials over a dispute at a meeting for selection of ration shops. Singh fled the scene amid a stampede-like situation that followed the firing.
The incident happened at Durjanpur village in the Reoti area of Ballia district when the SDO decided not to go ahead with the meeting due to a dispute between members of self-help groups who had gathered there. Videos of the incident are being widely shared on social media.
Ballia Superintendent of Police Devendra Nath said, “The incident took place after a clash erupted between two groups during the meeting. An investigation is underway." An FIR has been registered in this regard against 15-20 people on the complaint of the victim’s brother Chandrama.
Soon after, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered immediate suspension of local Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) Suresh Pal, Circle Officer Chandrakesh Singh and other police personnel who were present at the spot. He also directed that strict action be initiated against the accused.
The role of the officers shall be investigated and if responsible criminal action shall be taken, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Awanish Kumar Awasthi said in Lucknow.