At least six police officers — Circle Officer, two Inspectors, and three Sub-Inspectors — 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 block panchayat polls.
In the disturbing video which went viral on social media, the woman is seen running from men who first grabbed her and then yanked her saree during the block panchayat polls. She was trying to enter a nomination center 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. According to the police, the men were trying to ensure their candidate would be elected unopposed.
Coming under attack, the Yogi Adityanath government has initiated an inquiry into the matter. 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)". The party is even planning to hold a protest on July 11.
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 too had posted a video of the violence and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and tweeted, "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."
"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.