One person was killed and four others were injured when the convoy of a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader was attacked by unidentified gunmen in Bulandshahr district of western Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, police said. While party sources described the attack as politically motivated, the police said it was because of “infighting in the family”.
Haji Yunus, a senior Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader who finished second in the bypoll from the Buladanshahr Sadar seat in 2020, had joined the RLD on Saturday.
On Sunday, he was returning after attending a wedding in village Bhaipura near Shikarpur bypass in Bulanadhahr when his convoy was attacked by four-five unidentified assailants who came in a hatchback car. Police sources said at least 50 rounds were fired at the convoy. Mr. Yunus, who was seated in his luxury car, escaped unhurt but five members of his escort team were injured by bullets. Two of them were seriously injured and referred to medical facilities in Delhi for treatment. One of them, identified as Mohd Khalid from Akbarpur village, died while undergoing treatment. Mr. Yunus’s supporters thronged the Government Hospital in Bulandshahr.
Senior Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh said Mr. Yunus had accused his nephew Mohd Anas, who is lodged in jail, of plotting the attack. “Teams have been formed to nab the assailants and we will catch them soon,” he said.
An RLD spokesperson said the attack on its leader in broad daylight once again proved that the Bharatiya Janata Party government had failed to control law and order in the State and that it “should be ashamed of its repeated failure”.
A former Block pramukh (president), Mr. Yunus, who has the image of a strongman in the region, is the younger brother of two-time BSP MLA Haji Alim, who was killed in mysterious circumstances in October 2018, when his body was found in his bedroom with gunshot wounds. Initially, the police described it as a case of suicide but his sons Anas and Danish, and Mr. Yunus, called it a murder. After, 18 months of investigation, the Crime Branch of U.P. Police arrested Mr. Anas for the murder of his father. While Mr. Yunus expressed satisfaction, Mr. Danish has been accusing Mr. Yunus of colluding with the police to malign the heirs of Haji Alim for political and financial gain. Both sides have expressed apprehension in the past that they could be attacked by the rival group.