No end to woes of ruling BJP as Uttarakhand boils over murder of 19 year old girl by son of a senior BJP leader
Dehradun, Sept 24
There is no end to the woes of the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. After the recurring recruitment scandals involving ministers and senior party leaders, the murder of Ankita Bhandari, a young girl working as a receptionist at a tourist resort allegedly by the son of a senior BJP leader, holding a ministerial position in the previous Trivendra Singh Rawat government has inflamed passions across the state.
While, protests and resentment against the recruitment scandals by the youth particularly the unemployed at various places in the state had not died down with State BJP government indulging in fire fighting, the murder of a young girl who had been missing from past five days, has resulted in violent protests.
The agitated villagers vent their anger by smashing the window panes of the car of Yamkeshwar assembly BJP legislator Renu Bisht shouting slogans against her and the state government. An irate mob also set on fire the Vantara resort in Laxman Jhula area of Rishikesh owned by Pulkit Arya, the prime accused in the murder and son of Vinod Arya, a senior BJP leader. The crowd also set on fire the factory owned by the alleged accused.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced setting up of Special investigative Team (SIT) headed by DIG P. Renuka Devi to probe the murder case.
The Uttarakhand unit of the ruling BJP in a move to steer away from its’ association with Arya family expelled Vinod Arya and his another son Ankit Arya, who is presently vice-chairman of the Uttarakhand Other Backward Classes Commission who was enjoying the rank of a ministers of state of the state government.
Meanwhile, the body of Ankita Bhandari was recovered from Chilla canal near Rishikesh on Saturday by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) divers on the information provided by the alleged accused during their interrogation. The resort owner Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurab and another employee Ankit have been arrested by the Uttarakhand police on Friday.
The police had a tough time in protecting the alleged accused as they were being taken to Kotdwar where a huge crowd of villagers beat them up thoroughly tearing their clothes completely.
Interestingly, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had ordered demolition of the resort on Friday night which was allegedly being run illegally. He also announced that all such resorts would be checked for any illegalities in the state. However, the move to demolish the resort was questioned by many. Dr. Mukesh Semwal, Secretary Garhwal unit of Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) said that demolition of resort amount to destroying crucial evidence which could prove crucial in the murder case. “ Just imitating Yogi Adityanath blindly will also helps the culprits in avoiding the punishment they deserved in the court of law. The Chief Minister should avoid such steps,” Dr. Mukesh Semwal added.
According to the police, Ankita Bhandari, hailing from Shrikot village of Pauri Grahwal had done a hotel management course and wanted to assist her family. She joined ‘Vantara’ resort near Rishikesh on August 16, 2022owned by Pulkit Arya, son of an influential BJP leader. It was alleged that the resort owner was pressurising her to give “special service” to some guests which she refused. She shared these incidents in her whatsapp chat with a friend.
It was on September 18, 2022 that Pulkit Arya and Ankita Bhandari again had a heated exchange when she reportedly also threatened to expose the going ons’ in the resort.
As per investigation, Pulkit Arya asked Saurab Bhasker and Ankit to take Ankita Bhandari towards Rishikesh on two wheelers. All the three males consumed liquor. All them stopped one and half kilometre ahead of the barrage police station on the banks of Chilla canal where Ankita Bhandari and Pulkit against had a heated argument. According to police Ankita Bhandari in a fit of rage took Pulkit Ayra’s mobile phone and threw it in the canal. An Infuriated Pulkit pushed Ankita Bhandari in the canal to drown. All the three accused looked for an alibi and tried to show that Ankita has gone missing they even lodged a complaint with the revenue police of Yamkeshwar.
On the other hand, the parents of Ankita had been running from pillar to post looking for their missing daughter since September 19, 2022 but nobody cared. The parents also went to the revenue police of their area which refused to file a report. The patwari of the area has now been suspended. It was under tremendous public pressure from various social organisations and individuals in social media that the case was transferred from revenue police to regular police. The case was worked out within 24 hours.
The father and brother of the deceased has identified the body. A post-mortem examination was conducted at All India Institute of Medical science (AIIMS), Rishikesh where thousands of protestors gathered outside and set fire to tyres and indulged in slogans shouting demanding action against the culprits. A big protest was also held in front of the Office of District Magistrate, Pauri Garhwal demanding stern punishment to the culrpits.