Lucknow: Six police officers have been suspended in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh after a video showed two men manhandling a Samajwadi Party worker and yanking her sari during the filing of nominations for local polls.
The suspended officers comprise the Circle Officer, two Inspectors and three Sub-Inspectors.
The disturbing video from Saturday spread on social media yesterday. The woman seen in the video was a proposer for a Samajwadi Party candidate in the block panchayat polls. She was trying to enter a nomination centre when she was attacked by men from a rival party.
The men also snatched the candidate’s nomination papers to stop her from filing them in time; the police said the men were trying to ensure their candidate would be elected unopposed.
The state government came under heavy criticism from the Opposition after the video emerged.
Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the two men seen harassing the woman in the video were BJP workers. Sharing the video on Twitter, he referred to them as “power hungry goons of Yogi Adityanath (Chief Minister)”.
Clashes were reported from more than a dozen places during the filing of nominations on Saturday for the posts of 825 block pramukhs or local panchayat heads.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra posted a video of the violence and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“PM and CM, please congratulate your workers in UP who resorted to bombs, stones and bullets, who snatched nomination papers, beat up journalists and misbehaved with women. Law and order is blindfolded and democracy is being disrobed,” she tweeted in Hindi.
The BJP has won 67 out of the 75 seats in the Zila Panchayat polls. The Samajwadi Party won only five seats and the Rashtriya Lok Dal and Jansatta Dal won one seat each. The remaining one seat went to an Independent. The Mayatwati-led Bahujan Samaj Party did not contest the polls.
Akhilesh Yadav has earlier accused the BJP of making a mockery of the elections. He alleged that the ruling party “kidnapped” voters and used “force” to prevent them from voting.
“To convert its defeat into victory, the BJP got the voters kidnapped, used force with the help of police and administration to stop them from voting,” the Samajwadi Party chief alleged in a statement.