New Delhi: BJP MLA Surendra Singh has confirmed that Dhirendra Pratap Singh, who allegedly shot dead a man during a meeting called for allotment of shops under government quota, heads the ruling party’s ex-servicemen’s unit in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. “This is a casualty that can happen anywhere. In this incident, there was stone-pelting from both sides. The law will take its own course in the matter,” the BJP legislator said. Also Read - Uttar Pradesh: Major Fire Breaks Out at Chemical Factory in Meerut, 6 Fire Tenders on Spot

He also defended Singh, one of his close aides, saying that the latter opened fire in self-defence. “The incident is very upsetting, it should not have taken place but I condemn the one-sided investigation of administration. Nobody is looking at the pain of six women who have been injured in the incident. Dhirendra Singh fired in self-defence”, news agency ANI quoted him as saying.

The BJP MLA, who is known for his controversial remarks said that if he (Dhirendra Pratap Singh) wouldn’t have fired then dozens of his relatives would’ve been killed. “Wrongdoers should be punished under law. What happened shouldn’t have happened but police should also act against other groups which attacked women with sticks, iron rod”, he stated.

Earlier on Thursday, Jai Prakash (46) was shot dead allegedly by Singh after the SDM decided not to go ahead with the meeting due to a dispute between members of self-help groups, Superintendent of Police Devendra Nath said. Police have registered an FIR naming four and mentioning 15-20 unnamed people on the basis of a complaint filed by Chandrama, the victim’s brother.

“This is a sad incident. One accused out of the eight persons named in the FIR, has been arrested. No accused will be spared, and stern action will be taken. All police personnel who were deputed here y’day have been suspended”, said Braj Bhushan, ADG Varanasi Zone on Ballia incident.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the suspension of the sub-divisional magistrate, circle officer, and all other policemen present at the spot in Durjanpur village in Ballia’s Reoti area.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have lambasted the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government over the incident.  While BSP chief Mayawati alleged that law and order in the state has ended,  SP leader Akhilesh Yadav said that it is to be seen whether the “government of encounter” also reverses the car of its people or not.

“The incident of UP’s Ballia is very alarming and it is clear from the harassment of women and girls on a daily basis that the law and order has ended. If the government pays attention to this, it would be better. It is the advice of BSP,” Mayawati tweeted (roughly translated from Hindi).