New Delhi: The leader of a religious outfit, Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha, was shot dead by bike-borne assailants while he was on a walk along with a friend in the Hazratganj area of Lucknow this morning.
Ranjeet Bachchan, who was earlier associated with Samajwadi Party, had launched the religious group some time ago. He was allegedly walking with his friend, Ashish Srivastava, at Globe Park in Hazratganj at around 6.30 am when the assailants opened fire on them from a close range.
Both Bachchan and Srivastava were injured in the attack. While Bachchan succumbed to his injuries soon after, Srivastava was admitted to a hospital.
A native of Gorakhpur, Bachchan had been living in Lucknow. He was married but had separated from his wife, say reports.
Police have said they were tracking his phone records, the movement of people in the area at the time of the incident through phone call details and also examining the CCTV footage of the area and the roads leading up to it.
Though it is still not known if this attack was related to Bachchan’s political activities, this is the second attack on the leader of a Hindu outfit in Lucknow in recent months. In October last, Kamlesh Tiwari, who was president of Hindu Samaj Party and was earlier associated with Hindu Mahasabha, was murdered at his home in Khurshed Bagh in the Naka Hindola area.
Later, over a dozen people were arrested for the crime, including the two main accused who were nabbed by the Gujarat Police Anti-Terrorism Squad. They were identified as Ashfaqhussain Jakirhussain Shaikh, aged 34, and Moinuddin Khurshid Pathan, aged 27. Both were residents of Surat.
While Shaikh worked a medical representative, Pathan was a food delivery boy.
His wife had also accused two persons of placing a reward of Rs 1.5 crore on her husband’s head. She had identified them as Mohammed Mufti Naeem Kazmi and Imam Maulana Anuwarul Haq. The Hindu Mahasabha had then also asked the Centre to intervene and provide protection to the religious leaders in the state.
Tiwari had hurt Muslim sentiments when he made some controversial remark about Prophet Mohammad in 2015. Thereafter several Muslim groups held protests demanding action against him. Following his murder, several people, including two Muslim clerics from Bijnor in West UP, were also arrested for scripting the conspiracy behind his murder.