In a span of three weeks between mid-September and early October, Uttar Pradesh has witnessed the murders of 12 people in four different incidents related to land disputes. Following each of these incidents, police and revenue officers – a total of 42 officials – faced disciplinary action, including suspension, for alleged negligence and laxity in dealing with the land disputes.
The state government had held multiple meetings over the past few weeks instructing senior officials to ensure timely intervention in land disputes, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Chief Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra calling on senior officials to be on their toes.
The Indian Express takes a look at the four incidents that took place in four different districts, the arrests made, and action taken against officials.
2 killed in Kanpur Dehat
The latest of the four incidents took place on Thursday night at the Gajner area of Kanpur Dehat district, where two brothers were killed and four members of their family were injured. Eight accused were arrested after a case of murder was registered against 11 people.
The incident took place at Shahjahanpur Ninaya village, where the family of one Mohanlal Shukla attacked rival, Satnarayan Lohar, and his family with sticks and other weapons. Brothers Satyanarayan (72) and Ram Veer (60) were critically injured in the attack and died while being treated at hospital. Ram Veer’s wife Madhu (55), their daughters Madhu and Kaajal, and son Sonu are also undergoing treatment for injuries.
A complaint regarding the land dispute between the two families had been submitted to Kanpur Dehat District Magistrate Alok Singh on September 30, who referred it to local Revenue Department officials. In the complaint, Mohanlal Shukla alleged that despite him having lodged written complaints with local police regarding the dispute, no action was taken.
On Saturday, following the murders, eight police officers – Gajner Inspector Sanjesh Kumar, two sub-inspectors, and five constables – were suspended for alleged negligence. Two officials of the Revenue department also faced action – Local lekhpal Sachin was suspended and revenue clerk Vinod Kumar Mishra is set to face departmental action.
6 killed in Deoria
Last Monday (October 2), six persons, including five of a family, were killed over an almost decade-old land dispute that flared in Deoria’s Fatehpur village.
A former zila panchayat member, Prem Yadav (53), was attacked with blunt objects and killed by one Satya Prakash Dubey and members of his family. In retaliation, a group of people killed Satya Prakash, his wife and three children, including two daughters. One son survived the attack and was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.
Police have arrested 20 people in connection with the killings.
Following the incidents, 15 officials were suspended and departmental action was ordered against eight employees of the Revenue Department on Thursday for not acting on Dubey’s previous complaints.
The suspended officers include a deputy district magistrate, a deputy superintendent of police, two tehsildars, a station house officer, three accountants, one head constable, four constables, and two beat in-charges. Departmental action was ordered against the two tehsildars and a DSP. A government spokesperson said an initial inquiry report on the incident pointed to gross negligence on the part of officials, including police personnel.
It was found that nine complaints had been sent to the state government’s Integrated Grievance Redressal System (IGRS) by Satya Prakash Dubey in relation to the land dispute.
Doctor beaten to death in Sultanpur
On September 24, a 53-year-old doctor was allegedly beaten to death over a land dispute in Sultanpur district. Three people were booked, including the son of a man from whom the doctor had bought land.
Dr Ghanshyam Tiwari, who was posted at the Jaisinghpur Community Health Centre on a contract basis, was beaten up by Ajay Narayan Singh, a local resident, the doctor’s wife Nisha Tiwari said in her police complaint. After allegedly thrashing Tiwari, Singh sent him home in an e-rickshaw. Tiwari fell unconscious a few minutes later and was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
According to the doctor’s wife, her husband had purchased two plots of land for Rs 50 lakh from Ajay Narayan Singh’s father, Jagdish Narayan. “Despite paying the full amount, Jagdish and his son were not handing over possession of the land. Ajay Narayan asked for more money. We paid Rs 50,000 more, and then they asked for Rs 2.5 lakh more,” the doctor’s wife had said.
Jagdish Narayan Singh (70), his sons Ajay Narayan Singh (49) and Vijaya Narayan Singh (46) have been arrested in connection with the case.
The district administration had also carried out demolition at three properties linked to the accused, saying they were in “illegal possession”.
Following the doctor’s death, local station house officer, R A Upadhyay, was suspended for alleged negligence and a departmental inquiry was ordered against him.
3 killed in Kaushambi
On September 15, three members of a Dalit family were shot dead, allegedly over a property dispute, while they were sleeping outside their hut early in the morning. Soon after the incident, relatives of the victims set the houses of the accused on fire.
The incident took place in Kaushambi’s Mohideenpur village, under the jurisdiction of Sandeepan Ghat police station. The victims were identified as farmer Hori Lal (62), his daughter Brijkali (22), and son-in-law Shiv Sagar (26).
The accused were Hori Lal’s neighbours, with whom he had been involved in a dispute over a piece of land.
Nine persons have been arrested so far in connection with the murder, including neighbours Amit Singh, Anuj Singh, Arvind, Tirathram, Amar Singh and Guddu.
More than two weeks after the incident, on September 30, the local station officer and the outpost in-charge were removed and sent to police lines. On Friday, six consolidation officers of the Revenue Department were suspended in action taken by the state government for alleged laxity in handling the land dispute.