The BJP’s national president Amit Shah might either cancel or change the route of his ‘padyatra’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut on Friday after a trader’s son was allegedly murdered by a gang of robbers on Thursday night, a party official said.
Shah’s padyatra was scheduled in the old city area and was to move through Sharda Road before reaching out to the traders’ community in Kabari Bazar, Sarrafa, Valley Bazar and other adjoining markets.
Businessmen are considered to be the traditional voters of the Bharatiya Janata Party but were unhappy because of the Centre’s demonetisation that affected their trade.
Meerut is in the crucial and communally sensitive region of western Uttar Pradesh where the party had fared well in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“In the wake of unfortunate incident, we are left with two options either to cancel the ‘padyatra’ or to change its route. It all depends on the decision of the national president who will arrive here at 9.30am,” party’s city unit president Karunesh Nanndan Garg said.
Garg said that Shah may cancel the padyatra after visiting the grieving family and could also attend the funeral procession depending on its time. The other option is to change the route by skipping Sharda Road where the incident occurred, he added.
“We would brief him about the situation so that he could take his decision,” Garg said.
Sushil Verma, a distributor of a famous gutka brand, was finalising the account of day’s sale along with his son Abhishek at his office on Sharda Road on Thursday night. His agent Rohit also came there to deposit some money from sale.
Three men allegedly followed him and entered the office while their two aides kept guard outside the office.
They looted cash worth Rs 3 lakh and jewellery after taking them on gun point and downed the shutter before fleeing. The trapped traders somehow lifted the shutter and chased criminals and caught one of them.
One of the fleeing men opened fire and the bullet hit 21-year-old Abhishek on his chest and Verma also sustained injury on his hand while two other shopkeepers Umesh and Akhil, who dared to chase the criminals, also received bullet injuries.
The injured were taken to a hospital where doctors declared Abhishek dead.
Angry traders blocked the road and shouted slogans against police for failing to reign in criminals. Naveen Gupta, president of Sanyukt Vyaapar Sangh, and other traders demanded the suspension of the station house officer and circle officer of the area.
Senior superintendant of police J Ravindra Gaur and other senior officials also rushed to the area and four teams of police have been formed to identify and arrest the criminals involved in the incident.
Uttar Pradesh will vote in a seven-phase election for its 403 assembly seats from February 11 to March 8. Polling in Meerut will be held in the first phase.