Despite the notice served on him by the BJP over his recent remarks, party MLA Surendra Singh on Thursday again defended a murder accused, saying "a criminal got killed at the hands of a soldier in the firing".
The main accused in the case is the district unit president of the BJP ex-servicemen cell. Local BJP leader Dhirendra Pratap Singh had shot dead a 46-year-old man following a quarrel over the allotment of ration shops in Ballia district's Durjanpur village on October 15.
Surendra Singh, the MLA from Ballia, had come out in his support, saying Dhirendra Pratap Singh had "opened fire in self-defence" as "it was a do-or-die situation for him".
"Jai Prakash Pal Gama, who was killed in the firing incident, was a criminal. He had four cases of train dacoity against him," Surendra Singh told reporters.
The MLA said "a criminal got killed at the hands of a soldier in the firing".
"Gama had encroached upon the land of one Lokanath Tiwari in his village and attacked Tiwari when he objected to it," Surendra Singh said, claiming that his party "approved of his stand".
He claimed that he met senior BJP leaders in the past few days and all have said that he was right. He stressed that the other party should get justice.
When asked why he has been issued a show-cause notice if the BJP approved of his action, he said this was a tradition. "Dhirendra Pratap Singh has made a mistake but he is not a criminal. I can even give up my life for the honour of party workers," he said.
The Bairia MLA was issued the show-cause notice by state BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh on Monday and given a week's time to respond to it. On Wednesday, Surendra Singh had said that he was yet to receive the notice.
The MLA had also accused the administration of bias and demanded that action be taken against the other side. The state unit president had stated that Surendra Singh has been asked to let the law take its course.
"Yes, a notice has been issued to Surendra Singh and he has been asked to refrain from making unnecessary statements. He has been given a week's time to explain his stand," the state BJP chief had said.
So far, 10 people have been arrested in the case. An FIR was lodged against around 30 people, most of whom are yet to be identified.