In a gruesome incident on Thursday, a 48-year-old man was mowed down by a tractor following a complaint against land encroachment in Lateri town in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh.
As per reports, the victim has been identified as one Santram Valmiki. He was the Sarpanch of Murwas Gram Panchayat. Santram had filed a complaint with the Collector Pankaj Jain on September 10 last year after one Faqeer Ahmed and his sons namely, Farooq, Irfan, Umar and Rizwan encroached upon 100 bigha of forest land. While acting on his complaint, Jain had written a letter to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) for further action.
Collector Pankaj Jain had summoned the Divisional Manager of the Forest Department, Adarsh Shrivastava on January 28 and directed him to take action. In this regard, Shrivastava sent a letter to forest officers on March 9. A team was thus constituted by the Department to lead the anti-encroachment drive on March 16. However, Faqeer Ahmed and his sons were miffed by the decision. Umar, a watchman in the Forest Department, would pass on information from forest officials, identified as Santosh Dubey and Pankaj to his father Faqeer Ahmed.
The gruesome murder of Santram Valmiki
A day before the anti-encroachment drive was scheduled to begin, the complainant Santram Valmiki was crushed to death by a tractor on Thursday when he was returning to his house from the Murwas Panchayat Bhavan. The victim Santram Valmiki, who was on his bike at the time, was hit by the tractor driven by Ahmed’s son Rizwan near Bhairo Chowk.
On receiving information, the cops reached the crime scene and rushed Santram to the hospital. The victim was declared dead on arrival. Rizwan was accompanied by his brothers Umar, Farooq and Irfan. They also threatened passersby, who were a witness to the incident, with swords and guns and warned them against reporting to the police. The police have arrested all the five accused, including Faqeer Ahmed, for hatching the murder conspiracy.
BJP, VHP and victim’s wife demand strict action
While recounting the barbaric incident, the victim’s wife Asha Devi said, “After my husband lodged the complaint, they threatened him with dire consequences and now they killed him.” She further added, “My husband…(pleaded for help) but nobody helped him.” The incident has sparked outrage in the area, with BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) sitting on a dharna and demanding strong action against the accused.
Accusing the administration and the police of supporting land encroachers, BJP leader Umakant Sharma said, “Had the administration and police acted timely, Santram would not have been killed. A local police station in-charge was patronising the mafia and he should be removed from the post.” He, along with his supporters, sat on a protest outside the Murwas police station.
Valmiki community stage protest, Section 144 imposed in the area
In his defence, Police Station Incharge Anirudh Pandey said, “The police station is located about 400 metres away from the crime spot. I did not save the accused. I am being wrongly accused. I Nabed him and took him away.” The Valmiki community also staged a demonstration and sent a memorandum to the Collector, demanding appropriate action. A large team of police personnel has been deployed in the area and the assembly of more than 4 people have been restricted by the SDM under Section 144.