Surendra Gupta, a senior BJP leader in Jharkhand, and his daughter were shot dead by four miscreants on Wednesday in Shahpur area of Chainpur block in Palamu district in Jharkhand.
Gupta was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital, while his daughter was referred to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi but died on the way. Gupta was a senior BJP leader from Garhwa district.
More than a dozen BJP leaders have been killed in Jharkhand, six of them brutally, since the party came to power in 2014.
According to the police, Rahul Paswan — the man suspected of killing Gupta — was a friend of the driver of the slain leader. The police also claim that he had an affair with Gupta's daughter. “He (Rahul) had even visited the house of the leader along with some of his accomplices around one-and-a- half-month back, but Gupta had refrained from filing a police complaint, and decided to deal with Paswan on his own,” said Indrajeet Mahatha, Superintendent of Police of Palamu district.
While the motive in this case does not seem political, the incident reflects poorly on the law and order situation in the BJP-ruled state, say political activists.
Last week, Ranjit Singh, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) leader from Dhanbad was also shot dead, which caused a huge uproar against the Raghubar Das government on the issue of lawlessness in the state. The Dhanbad Police later found that gangs in Wasseypur were behind the shootout, and arrested two shooters from Mumbai. Ranjit was the president of the youth wing of the JVM.
On 12 March, Pankaj Gupta, the treasurer of the Lohardaga district unit of the BJP was shot dead early in the morning outside an eatery in the Nagdi area of the state capital. The murder was captured on a CCTV camera, which showed how the assailants casually came, put the pistol on the back of Gupta’s head and pulled the trigger, despite the place teeming with morning commuters.
In another incident on 19 July, Dheeraj Ram, vice-president of the BJP's SC/ST cell, Doranda zone was shot dead in the wee hours in Ranchi. The incident had caused a huge furore among traders in the city.
The series of political killings started soon after the BJP was voted to power in the state in December 2014. Investigations into most of these cases are going on.
On 4 May, 2016, Bhagawat Rout, a member of Dumka District Board, was shot dead in broad daylight in Dumka district. The 56-year old, who had quit the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha to join the BJP in 2014, was shot by two motorcycle-borne youth. He succumbed to his injuries on the spot. Though the police promptly jailed two suspects, the reason for the murder never came out in the public domain.
Expressing shock over the killing, Supriyo Bhattacharya, a JMM spokesperson, questioned the willingness of the BJP government to rein in corruption, which has become a breeding ground of criminal elements in Jharkhand.
“The BJP has become so enamoured with greed that it doesn't even care about the well-being of its own leaders any more in the state. Raghubar Das should pull up the Jharkhand Police for failing to protect political leaders. What example are they presenting in front of common people if their own leaders are not secure?,” said Bhattacharya.
With inputs from Sudhakar Singh from Palamu
(Manmohan Singh is a Lucknow-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com)
Updated Date: Aug 30, 2018 19:13 PM