Slain husband’s body still at home, Dalit woman, 50, leads villagers in casting vote
Strap: Angry And Upset Over Killing Of Dalit Man, Entire Village Had Decided To Boycott Polls
Bijnor: Two days after unidentified persons opened fire at three Dalit men leaving one of them dead, their entire village in UP’s Bijnor with 920 voters decided to boycott polling on Tuesday. The attack took place on late Sunday night when three unidentified men in a car asked for directions from the three men on a bike, and then opened indiscriminate fire at them. There was a pal of gloom in the entire Mukandpur Rajmal village and all the shops were shut. Barhapur assembly area of Bijnor, in which the village falls, is in UP’s Moradabad constituency where third phase elections were held on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, as the polling began in Moradabad, the booth of Mukandpur Rajmal had no queue. In fact, there was no voter at all. Shocked poling staff called up top district officials informing them of the situation. Soon, DM and SP of Bijnor rushed to the village and started persuading the locals, mostly Dalits, who were agitated over the attack and had decided to boycott the election.
It took officers more than six hours to convince the locals to vote, and, to their heartwarming surprise, the first person to cast vote was the widow of Bulaaki Singh (55), who was killed in the attack.
Munni Devi, 50, cast the first vote of her village, as her husband’s body lay waiting for the final rites.
While coming out of the polling booth in Mukandpur Rajmal village, Devi said, “I have faith in ‘lokshahi’ (democracy). I hope police will arrest the killers of my husband, who was innocent.” Her eyes were still red with last night’s wailing and she was unable to walk properly. Seeing her, others followed.
The polling started at 1:30pm and poll officials decided to extend the timing by over one hour to accommodate all. The village reported close to 60% polling by 7:15pm at the time of filing of report.
But, against this backdrop, the suspense over the attack lingered and police were still grappling to find a motive, and also the attackers.
The bikers, Bulaaki Singh, Mahaaver Singh (40) and Firozi were on their way from Barhapur town to Mukandpur Rajmal when the attack took place on late Sunday night. Bulaaki was hit by a bullet in the chest and died on the spot, while the rest were rushed to district hospital in serious condition. They were later referred to Meerut medical college.
Police had registered a case against unidentified persons under section 307 and 302 of Indian Penal Code. The FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint of the deceased’s son Sompal Singh.
Superintendent of police (rural) Vishvajeet Srivastava had said, “It appears to be an unprovoked attack as the three car occupants asked for an address which the men on the bike didn’t know. Their failure to tell the address provoked a man in the car to such an extent that he opened fire.”
When contacted, Bulaaki Singh’s son Sompal Singh said, “My father had no enmity with anyone. He was returning home with two other villagers from Barhapur town. On the way, the three car-borne men asked for way of Rampur village from my father.
When he failed to show the way, one of them slapped my father and opened fire with a pistol.”
He added, “My father died on the spot. Mahaveer Singh and Firozi also sustained bullet injuries. They were so afraid that they pretended dead. The assailants stayed there for five minutes to ensure that all were dead.”
Bulaaki was cremated on Tuesday evening, after the polling ended.