AMETHI: A former village head and a close aide of Smriti Irani, the newly crowned MP from Amethi, was shot dead at his house while asleep by unidentified assailants on Saturday night.
Surendra Singh, the slain BJP activist, had campaigned vigorously for Irani, who trounced Congress president Rahul Gandhi on his turf, in what was, perhaps, the most stunning result to come out of the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.
The police have lodged an FIR against five persons. Director General of Police Om Prakash Singh said seven people were taken into custody, adding that they were being interrogated.
"We have come to know about an old enmity. We are also trying to find out if there was any political enmity," he said in Lucknow.
After getting word of Singh’s killing, Irani rushed to Amethi on Sunday morning to be with the bereaved family.
After meeting the family members, she also participated in the last rites of the slain activist, shouldering his mortal remains as she led the funeral procession to the cremation ground.
Later, talking to media persons on the condition that they would not disturb the bereaved family in this hour of grief, the outgoing Union minister took a dig at the Congress president without taking his name.
Referring to Rahul’s message to her on the day he lost Amethi, Irani said, “On May 23, I was conveyed a message to look after Amethi with love. I want to tell the messenger that I have received it loud and clear,” Irani said.
She said she took an oath before the bereaved family that she will even knock the door of the Supreme Court to ensure that the one who fired at Singh and the one who ordered it are served the death sentence.
She said will strive to bring justice to his widow and three children.
“The grieving family of the BJP pays tribute to the departed soul of Surendra Singh ji and we, the family of BJP’s 11 crore members, are standing firmly with his bereaved family in these testing times. The intent of the Modi and Yogi governments has been to ensure justice to the victims within the ambit of law,” the actor-turned-politician said.
While the police suspect personal enmity as a motive for the killing, locals said political rivalry could not be ruled out.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the police to solve the case in 12 hours.
Amethi SP Rajesh Kumar said the former head of Baraulia village was sleeping on a charpoy at his house when one of his family members spotted him lying in pool of blood in the wee hours on Sunday.
“Singh was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared brought dead,” the SP said.
While the police are still trying to ascertain the reason for the killing, the local administration has ensured deployment of security personnel at the village to ensure law and order.