Kanpur Dehat: In a shocking incident, a 45-year-old woman and her 20-year-old daughter died in a fire during an anti-encroachment drive at a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat district.
While the police said the two women set themselves on fire, their family claimed it was the cops who set their hut ablaze when the women were inside, which resulted in the deaths.
The incident took place in the Madauli village in the Rura area of the district, late on Monday evening, where the police, district administration, and revenue officials had gone to remove encroachments from a “gram samaj” or government land, a police official said.
The villagers said that the officials arrived with a bulldozer and they were not given any prior notice.
“They started the fire while people were still inside. We were just about able to escape. They broke our temple. Nobody did anything, not even the district magistrate. Everybody ran, nobody could save my mother,” said Shivam Dixit.
The police, however, said that Pramila Dixit and her daughter Neha set themselves on fire.
Rura Station House Officer (SHO) Dinesh Gautam and Pramila’s husband, Gendan Lal, also sustained burn injuries while trying to save the women, a police officer said.
Superintendent of Police (SP) BBGTS Murthy, meanwhile, said, “The woman and her daughter locked themselves inside the hut and set it on fire which resulted in their death. We will investigate and if there is any wrongdoing, we will not spare the guilty.”
He said, “Whenever there is an anti-encroachment drive, a video is shot. We have asked for the video and will investigate it.”
Meanwhile, tension prevails in the village and incidents of stone pelting at the police have also been reported.
Additional Director General of Police (Kanpur zone) Alok Singh, along with Divisional Commissioner Raj Shekhar, visited the village to pacify the crowd and assured action against guilty persons.
The Samajwadi Party has blamed the ‘insensitive’ administration for the ‘murders’.
FIR against 24 including Deputy Collector
FIR was lodged against over 24 people, including Deputy Collector Maitha, Tehsildar, Kanungo, Lekhpal, and SHO, after two women died during an anti-encroachment drive in a village here.
A case of murder and attempt to murder has also been lodged against more than a dozen unknown people, said police sources.