Dhirendra Singh, wanted for allegedly shooting dead a man during an argument at a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia in the presence of officials and policemen, emerged in a video late Friday, refuting the charges and blamed the administration for the violence.
“I don’t know who fired. I was pleading with officials to save my family. They just stood there and watched… I am a soldier. I have always believed in serving my country. I urge the chief minister for a fair probe,” he said in the video.
His statement came hours after a BJP MLA defended him, saying that he fired in self-defence, killing a 46-year-old man at the meeting on allotment of ration shops held at village Durjanpur.
According to witnesses, a fight erupted between him and Dhirendra Singh, a BJP worker said to be close to party MLA Surendra Singh. Dhirendra Singh, the ex-president of the BJP’s local ex-servicemen’s unit, allegedly fired three shots at Jaiprakash, triggering chaos and a near-stampede at the meeting held in a tent.
“Yesterday, there were a lot of top officials were there for the meeting. I had warned them earlier that there was going to be violence. But they went ahead with the meeting. Officials were involved in the violence yesterday. They took money,” Dhirendra Singh alleged.
He also blamed the local officials and police of ignoring his request to deploy enough security for the meeting and claimed that one of his family members died in the incident while eight were injured.
“My aged father fell down in the commotion yesterday. My family was targeted with sticks. I was seen being beaten in the video. I am a Rajput, I proudly served the army for 18 years. I managed to free myself and run away. They wanted to beat me to death over there,” he said.
The police have arrested two people including Dhirendra Singh’s brother over the incident and five others have been detained, news agency PTI reported. Dhirendra Singh, who escaped under the nose of the policemen, is still missing. The police has declared reward of rupees 50,000 for his arrest.
Sub Divisional Magistrate Suresh Chandra Pal and circle officer of police Chandrakesh Singh were suspended on the directions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath soon after the incident on Thursday.