Lucknow: Two members of the Yogi Adityanath-led UP Cabinet have crossed swords over the recent lynching of five people in Raebareli even as a government-ordered inquiry is on.
According to Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya, those killed were “dreaded criminals” and were “hired” by Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Pandey to “teach a lesson” to the village pradhan as he had joined the BJP during state assembly elections.
“Those who were killed were criminals. Criminal cases were filed against them in different police stations. All of them came from Pratapgarh and Fatehpur region,” Maurya said.
Countering him, Law Minister Brajesh Pathak said, “It is wrong to influence the investigation by saying that those killed were criminals. Those who are providing protection to the criminals will not be spared. It is now clear that those killed were not criminals. They were called to a place and killed later on. Those who are saying they were criminals are trying to influence the investigation.”
Speaking to News18, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha's national general secretary Abhijat Mishra condemned Maurya’s statement. He said, "The judiciary will decide who is a criminal and who is not. The Constitution of India does not allow any person to take the law into their hands.”
The police have so far not come across any criminal records naming the deceased persons. Their family members have been provided security cover.
Brahman Mahasabha has also registered a protest against Maurya’s statement, demanding his removal from the Cabinet. They have threatened to launch a state-wide agitation if no action is taken in eight days.