HT Correspondent,Kanpur, November 2
BOMBS AND indiscriminate firing tore apart the silence in Rawatpur Gaon when Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) cadres launched an attack on the house of a Samajwadi Party leader late on Wednesday night. All through the attack, the residents of the locality preferred to stay indoors. Even the police, who were promptly informed, remained a mute spectator to the brazen show of strength of the two groups.
The incident began around 1.30 am when VHP and BSP workers attacked SP worker Raja Tewari. Within seconds the entire area resounded with the sounds of bombs and gunshots. Tewari, who sensed trouble, ran inside his house.
Soon Tewari’s men took positions and returned fire. The gunfight lasted for nearly an hour and the locals felt living on the edge. Stray bullets kept hitting their walls and windows though luckily no one was injured. Locals said at least 200 rounds were fired and some three-dozen bombs were exploded. The clash was a fall out of the rivalry between Tewari and senior VHP convenor Awadh Bihari Mishra. Mishra was peeved with the BJP for giving ticket to Sooraj Yadav and not to his supporter Bal Kishan Kushwaha from Rawatpur Gaon. An irate Mishra had extended support to BSP-supported candidate Dr Munnilal Kushwaha.
On polling day, Mishra’s men allegedly attempted to capture the booth at Rakesh Verma College in Naveen Nagar. The VHP men got resistance from the polling agent of the SP nominee and Mishra’s cousin Tewari. The situation turned volatile when Mishra’s aide Santosh misbehaved with Tewari and was in turn publicly slapped. Meanwhile, the Kalyanpur police feigned ignorance about the incident and said it would investigate the matter.