The complaints on inclusion of influential persons in Below Poverty Line (BPL) list and against atrocities on people of Schedule Caste (SC) communities proved costly to Kedar Singh Jindan, an RTI activist from Shillai area of Sirmaur district.

Superintendent of Police, Sirmaur, Rohit Malpani said the three accused who had been arrested confessed to their crime of killing the RTI activist for taking up the cases of SCs.

“The accused told the police that they had murdered Jindan over his complaints on BPL list and under SC/ST,” Malpani told The Statesman.

Police sources said Jindan was called by the three accused Gopal, Jai Prakash and Karam Singh for compromise over the cases by him on 7 September.

However, Jindan refused to agree to their demands of taking back his complaints, resulting in heated exchange between them.

The RTI activist was allegedly brutally thrashed with sticks by the accused after which he was crushed to death under a Scorpio car.

Jindan was pursuing a case against Jai Prakash, the UP Pradhan of Bakras panchayat, for allegedly including his brother’s family in BPL list due to which he had got a job in government sector.

In addition, some other persons of the area who own cars and pucca houses, were also included in the list while the poor people from weaker sections and SC community were left out.

This had resulted in poor being deprived of benefits of government schemes and the rich and influential not only got benefit of the welfare schemes but also enabled them in getting government jobs.

Sources said Jai Prakash had reportedly called him to settle the case but when Jindan refused to toe their line, he was murdered in cold blood.

Such was the influence of the accused that even the five witnesses of the crime had refused to give their statements to the police as they fear that they might be tempered with.

This is despite the fact that the government had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe and the Director General of Police S R Mardi too had visited Sirmaur district to take stock of the situation.

The witnesses are now being provided with police security for safety and they are still adamant on their demand of recording their statement in front of magistrate or CBI.

In fact, the crime had also laid bare the caste divide in remote and backward Shillai region as after the crime, Rajput Sabha had expressed their support for the accused and had requested the police to register a case of accident and not of murder against the accused.

Around 60-70 members had gathered outside SP office in Shillai and had also submitted memorandum to SP in support of their demands which included removal of a case under SC/ST Act against the accused.

A resident of Bakras Panchayat in Shillai area, Jindan was fighting for the rights of poor and SCs of the area and he had also contested assembly elections on Bahujan Samajwadi Party ticket in 2007, 2012 and in 2017.