Lucknow, Oct. 7: Heads rolled today in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the the death of four villagers in police firing in Kushinagar district on Saturday.
As state BJP chief Vinay Katiyar and legislature party leader Lalji Tandon rushed to Kushinagar, chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav transferred and then suspended district magistrate Ashish Goel and police superintendent R.A. Gautam.
The state home secretary announced that a case of murder had been registered against errant officials.
The police had opened fire on residents of Deoraj Pipra village — who were protesting against the delay in building a bridge on the Gandak river — following stone-pelting after an altercation between villagers and district officials.
Launching statewide protests, Katiyar said the “incident was symptomatic of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s goonda raj”.
The Mulayam Singh government’s first suspension of central service officers has set alarm bells ringing among state bureaucrats.
They had just heaved a sigh of relief after Mayavati’s indiscriminate suspension spree ended with her government’s collapse.
The government has also ordered the Gorakhpur commissioner to inquire and submit a report within three days after it rejected the district administration’s plea that police opened fire in self-defence.
Kushinagar residents said officials had swooped down on them as Baba Lalji Mishra sat on an indefinite hunger strike in support of their demand for the bridge.
The district magistrate asked Mishra to end his agitation. He refused to do so till a foundation stone was laid.
Heated exchanges then followed between Mishra’s supporters and government officials, provoking stone-pelting by a section of the crowd. The police then opened fire.