A photojournalist with a prominent Hindi daily and his brother were shot dead in Saharanpur district on Sunday morning following an altercation over the disposal of cow dung, prompting opposition parties to slam the government on law and order.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased, however, the SP and the Congress slammed the ruling BJP over the alleged collapse of law and order and failure to provide adequate compensation.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that Uttar Pradesh was "in the grip of criminals" and the state administration was covering up crimes.
Ashish (23), a photographer with Dainik Jagran newspaper, and his brother Ashutosh (19) were killed by their neighbour Mahipal Saini and his sons, Senior Superintendent of Police (Saharanpur) Dinesh Kumar P said.
"In the midst of an argument, Mahipal and his sons entered the house of Ashish and Ashutosh and shot them. Locals rushed the duo to a nearby hospital, where the doctors declared them brought dead," the SSP said.
Three teams have been formed to nab the culprits who are absconding, he added. "Chief Minister has taken cognisance of the Saharanpur incident wherein the journalist of Dainik Jagran and his brother were shot dead by the assailants," a statement issued here by a senior Uttar Pradesh government official said.
"SSP Saharanpur has been directed to initiate the strongest action. The state government stands by the bereaved family in this moment of grief," the statement added.
Hitting out at the Adityanath government, Priyanka Gandhi in a tweet in Hindi said, "Now, what will you call this system where murders are being committed every day by shooting people. Those responsible for controlling crime are busy in cover-ups and UP is in the grip of criminals." Leader of Congress Legislative Party in UP Assembly Ajay Kumar 'Lallu' demanded the resignation of Adityanath.
"Law and order machinery has collapsed from Saharanpur to Barabanki," he said in a statement. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav expressed grief over the deaths and demanded that the guilty be brought to book at the earliest.
"During the regime of the SP government, the kin of the deceased used to get Rs 20 lakh as immediate financial assistance. The BJP government should do at least this much," he said.
The BJP expressed grief over the deaths and vowed to take "strong action" against the culprits. "In the hour of grief, the BJP is with the bereaved family," a statement issued by state BJP chief Swatantradev Singh and general secretary (organisation) of state BJP Sunil Bansal said. "The guilty persons will not be spared, and the government has already issued directives to initiate strong action against the culprits," the statement added.