UP Polls: 2 BJP men arrested, 6 cops suspended over molestation of SP women workers

Two BJP workers were arrested and six police officers were suspended in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district on Friday in connection with poll violence and the molestation of two Samajwadi Party’s women cadres.

In a video from Lakhimpur Kheri, BJP workers named Brij Kishore and Yash Verma were seen pulling a Samajwadi Party worker’s sari as she was entering a nomination centre. The worker was a proposer for an SP-backed candidate.

According to the district president of Samajwadi Party, Ram Pal Yadav, after misbehaving with the woman, the BJP workers had entered the block office and removed the clothes of SP’s another woman cadre, Indian Express reported.

Ritu Singh, the Samajwadi Party candidate for the Uttar Pradesh block pramukh polls from Pasgawan block in Lakhimpur Kheri district, told India Today that said supporters of Lokendra Pratap Singh, the BJP MLA from Mohammadi area, attacked her proposer.

The SP leader also alleged that the workers snatched her nomination papers, tore them and fled from the spot.

Both Kishore and Verma have been arrested in connection with the molestation incident. A police case has also been registered against several other unidentified people. All the accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code provisions relating to rioting, robbery and molestation.

“Six policemen were suspended in connection with the incident on Friday,” ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar told reporters. According to Times of India, he suspended police offices are Circle Officer Abhay Pratap, Station House Officer of the concerned police station Adarsh Pasgawan, Inspector Hanuman Prasad and three sub-inspectors – Durgesh Gangwar, Ugrasen Singh and Mahesh Pratap.

Former UP chief minister and supremo of SP Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said women were not safe under the state’s BJP government. “The SP candidate in Lakhimpur Kheri and her proposer were harassed and her saree was pulled away. This is a black mark on democracy,” Yadav said in a statement.

“In Siddharth Nagar, Etawah, SP’s women candidates faced misbehaviour in the presence of police. In Kannauj, our female candidate was beaten up…,” he added.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too had accused BJP workers of indulging in violence. She tweeted: “The prime minister and chief minister should extend ‘congratulations’ on how their workers in Uttar Pradesh indulged in stone-pelting and firing, looted nomination papers, beat up journalists and misbehaved with women.”