A district-level Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and three associates have been arrested after they beat a Muslim cab driver, Aqueel Ahmad, to death on a crowded fairground in Lakhimpur Kheri but the police have invoked charges of causing death by negligence rather than murder.
Relatives and neighbours of Aqueel, 28, staged a dharna, castigating the police for invoking lesser charges carrying a maximum punishment of two years and questioning the force’s account of a brawl resulting in death.
Anup Shukla, former BJP district vice-president and currently chairman of the district cooperative federation, has been arrested with Devarshi Shukla, Brajesh Shukla and Rajat Rastogi.
Chunnan and Suhel Baba Khan, two friends of Aqueel, had run away from the spot after the four assailants attacked the taxi driver, police said, adding that only fists were used. Aqueel died in hospital the same evening.—KMS