Five people have been arrested in connection with a 46-year-old man’s killing at a meeting for the allocation of two fair price shops in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district on Thursday. The killing triggered outrage as it allegedly took place in the presence of top district and police officers.

Additional director general of police, Brij Bhushan, said Narendra Pratap Singh, the brother of the main accused, Dheerendra Pratap Singh, is among the five arrested on Friday.

Jaiprakash Pal was shot dead after officials decided to cancel the meeting because of a dispute.

Dheerendra Pratap Singh, who is on the run, is the Ballia unit president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Sainik Prakosht (servicemen’s cell), according to BJP lawmaker Surendra Singh, who represents Bairia constituency in Ballia. The lawmaker described the incident as “a casualty” and said the law will take its own course.

The two brothers have been named in the First Information Report (FIR) filed in the case. A police officer said raids were being conducted to arrest the accused, which include 22 unnamed people.

Tej Pratap Pal, the brother of the 46-year-old, on Friday said there were 10 policemen on the spot, who were saving the culprits and beating them. “When Dheerendra Pratap Singh was fleeing after firing, the police caught him… But they later took him to a nearby embankment and let him go,” news agency Press Trust of India quoted him as saying.

Ballia district magistrate Hari Pratap Shahi said the process of cancellation of arms licences of the accused was underway.

Additional police superintendent Sanjay Kumar Singh said nine police personnel have been suspended for inaction in the case.

Police said the meeting was held for the allocation of two fair price shops at Durjanpur and Hanumanganj villages. Two women self-help groups, Maa Shayar Jagdamba and Shivshakti Sahayata Samuh, had applied for the right to operate the shops. At the meeting, it was decided that voting will be held to determine the allocation of the shops.

Police said officials arranged for only people with Aadhaar or other valid identity cards to participate in the voting. The meeting turned chaotic as even those without the ID cards insisted on voting. The meeting was then cancelled. Police said both the parties shouted slogans against the administration and one person opened fire in which the 46-year-old was killed.

(With inputs from PTI)

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