Poll panel gets report on Jaunpur candidate’s murder

April 20th, 2009 - 12:04 am ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party Lucknow, April 19 (IANS) The Election Commission Sunday evening received a special team’s confidential report on the murder of Bahadur Sonkar, a candidate from the Jaunpur Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, buoying up his family’s hopes of justice.
Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi’s warning Saturday about possible action in the murder of the Indian Justice Party (IJP) candidate has given the victim’s family hope as they have been running from pillar to post seeking action against the key accused - the state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Dhananjay Singh, whose name spells terror in the region.

“Besides countermanding the election, they must also refer the case to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation,” demanded IJP president Udit Raj, who quit the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) to launch the Dalit outfit, much to BSP chief Mayawati’s chagrin.

The victim’s brother Barhu Ram Sonkar has accused the state government of going all out to put a smokescreen over the alleged involvement of its candidate in the murder.

Sonkar’s body was found hanging from a tree barely half a kilometre from his home on April 13.

The wholesale vegetable seller was allegedly receiving threats from a local police officer to withdraw his candidature in favour of the BSP nominee.

Having worked hard to build a goodwill and establish rapport with a section of the electorate, Sonkar refused to be cowed down by the threats.

It was a complaint by the victim’s brother to the Election Commission that led the poll panel to send two senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers to personally take stock of the situation and submit a report.

The two officers handpicked by the Election Commission are from outside Uttar Pradesh.

“The Election Commission is our only hope now. I am sure we will get justice,” Udit Raj told IANS.

“As far as the state administration is concerned, they were initially not ready to even put the BSP candidate’s name in the FIR (first information report) and the local police are only working towards ensuring a clean chit for him. That is why we have sought a CBI probe, but naturally the state government does not want that,” he added.

Refuting a suggestion that Sonkar committed suicide, Raj has been trying to explain to authorities how it was not possible for Bahadur Sonkar to have gone up the tree to hang himself from the height of nearly 15 feet.

The district magistrate as well as the superintendent of police of Jaunpur said they did not know Sonkar was facing threats.

“Bahadur Sonkar never approached me with any complaint about intimidation by some local officer,” District Magistrate Aparna Upadhaya told IANS.

District Superintendent of Police V.K. Dohre said: “The family might be now alleging that Bahadur Sonkar was being intimidated by one of our circle officers to withdraw his nomination, but no one ever came to me with such a complaint.”

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