Mayawati draws flak over BSP man’s link to murder (Second Lead)

April 13th, 2009 - 11:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party Lucknow, April 13 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati was Monday under attack over the alleged involvement of a party nominee in the sensational murder of Indian Justice Party (IJP) candidate Bahadur Sonkar in Jaunpur.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav alleged in the evening that there was “sufficient evidence” to indicate that the BSP was behind the murder.

Sonkar was found hanging from a tree in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur town Monday. He was contesting against the BSP’s Dhananjay Singh, a mafia don turned politician. Sonkar’s relatives have blamed the BSP.

Addressing a press conference here Monday evening, Mulayam Singh said: “Sufficient evidence is available to establish that the ruling party nominee was behind the murder.”

He also claimed, “I have definite information that the chief minister had herself told her partymen to feel free to use any means to win the election and that the administration would turn a blind eye to whatever they indulged in.”

“The killing was a clear outcome of the unbridled liberty given by the chief minister to her partymen.”

Mulayam also demanded “immediate arrest of the BSP nominee”. Incidentally, Dhananjay Singh was part of the Samajwadi Party until not very long ago.

Sonkar is believed to have been kidnapped from his house and killed at the behest of his rival who wanted him out of the election fray and had repeatedly warned him to withdraw.

His body was found hanging from a tree barely 500 metres from his home near a pond in Jaunpur town, about 210 km from here. His family members had found him missing from his bed and the bed linen as well as his slippers and cell phone were strewn on the verandah.

The post-mortem examination report issued in the evening described it as “death by hanging” and hinted at “suicide”. However, the victim’s family members allege the post-mortem report is “doctored”.

Sonkar, a well-known Dalit of the area, had challenged the might of the BSP’s upper caste Thakur nominee Dhananjay Singh.

Sonkar’s family members had pointedly named Singh as the man behind the killing. But police allegedly refused to register a case against Singh. Local police beat up Sonkar’s family members and supporters when they tried to prevent the police from taking away the body for autopsy.

When senior BBC correspondent Ramn Dutt Tripathi confronted the local deputy superintendent of police with his journalistic queries, he was allegedly manhandled by the officer and other police personnel.

The brutal killing has stunned the entire Jaunpur constituency.

In a desperate damage control move, Mines Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha told a hurriedly convened press conference in Lucknow, “We can see a Samajwadi Party hand behind the murder.” According to him, “Since the BSP nominee was winning the poll hands down, there was no reason for him to get the IJP candidate killed.”

A member of Sonkar’s family has alleged that “Bahadur Sonkar was receiving repeated threats from local police circle officer Ditendra Chaudhary, who had been pressurising him to withdraw his candidature in favour of Dhananjay Singh.”

He told this scribe over telephone from Jaunpur, “When Bahadur told the officer that it was not possible for him to pull out of the election fray, the cop warned him to be prepared to face serious consequences.”

Sonkar had not only spoken to the local media about these threats, but had also apprised the local authorities about it.

The family members believe that he was kidnapped and killed before his body was hung from the tree to paint a picture of suicide.

No arrests have been made so far.

While the district superintendent of police was not available for comment, District Magistrate Aparna Upadhaya said, “I cannot make any comment until we get the post-mortem report.”

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