A young Indian Police Service (IPS) officer was brutally murdered by alleged mining mafia in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The incident, which occurred in the Morena district, Thursday afternoon local time, has evoked strong reactions across the country.
Thirty-year-old Singh was crushed to death when a tractor loaded with illegally mined stones ran over him. Singh, who was patrolling the area, noticed the tractor trolley with the illegal load and signaled the driver to stop it. When the driver did not pay heed, Singh stood in front of the vehicle to force the driver to stop. The tractor driver, identified as Manoj Gujjar, mowed down the police officer and sped away.
Though the police officer was rushed to the hospital, he was declared as brought dead by the hospital authorities.
Illegal mining is rampant in Madhya Pradesh and, according to anti-mining activists, the mafia is hand-in-glove with government officials and the local police. The 2009 batch officer took on the mining mafia and conducted several raids and seizures of illegally mined stones regularly.
The opposition leader and former chief minister alleged the involvement of the ruling BJP government in the murder. He blamed chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for letting the mafia thrive in the state.
There is ample evidence to prove that the chief minister's family is involved in the illegal mining. We have got proof that number of people including BJP MLAs, MPs and influential people are involved in mining activity in open connivance of BJP leadership, he was quoted in a Times of India report.
The ruling party, which initially claimed the incident was an accident, had to backtrack after facing strong criticism from across the country. Bowing to the pressure, the chief minister has now announced a judicial probe into the incident.
Singh's family also reacted strongly to the authority's indifference to the incident. The IPS officer's father Keshav Singh alleged that the act was a clear case of murder by the mining mafia.
He claimed that his son got no support from the local police and said that if law and enforcement agencies had acted the incident would not have happened. He did not have the support of local police incharge there. If they had supported this would not have happened, according to an NDTV report.
The family has not yet come to terms with the shock and the tragedy has shattered his wife Madhu Tewatiya, an Indian Adminstrative Service (IAS) officer. The slain officer and wife were expecting their first child.The last rites of the officer were conducted at his hometown, Mathura.
The law and order situation in the state has reportedly deteriorated with more and more honest police officers facing attacks from the mafia.
In another similar incident, an IPS officer Jaidevan, who tried to stop illegal liquor sale in Bhind district was attacked by liquor mafia on Friday.