Battle for UP: ‘This battle is for a jailed sister’

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Bikru, where eight policemen were killed on July 3, 2020, is quiet but its memories are being brought back to life in Kalyanpur constituency of Kanpur.

Neha Tiwari, sister of the Bikru widow Khushi Dubey, is contesting from here on a Congress ticket. Her campaign revolves around ensuring justice for her jailed sister.

“My sister Khushi had been married for just three days to Amar Dubey (an accused in the crime who was killed in an encounter) when the incident took place and the police arrested her. She was 16 at that time and has been languishing in jail since then,” says Neha 28.

The police have charged Khushi under 17 sections, including that of murder and dacoity.

Neha is trying to mobilise Brahmin voters against the BJP on the issue and says that her sister is being victimised only because she is a Brahmin.

“I appeal to the people to help us win this fight. My sister is not a criminal, but a victim of circumstances. Yet, the government treats her as an enemy,” she says.

“I also appeal to Satish Nigam of SP and Neelima Katiyar of BJP to let me win this election for the sake of my sister,” she adds.

“The last 18 months have taught us a lot. The entire family believes we cannot help Khushi without political muscle. The legal battle has exhausted us financially,” says Neha, as she moves around on her scooter for the campaign.

Akhilesh Bajpai of the Brahmin Mahasabha, says: “Khushi’s arrest and tough stance of the government, particularly in her case, has upset the Brahmin community and it is our duty to support her sister in this battle.”

Khushi is currently lodged in district jail of Kanpur Dehat. Her lawyer, Shiv Kant Dixit, said the family had moved Supreme Court for her bail in the case.

The women in the constituency are already sympathising with Neha.

“Yes, we too have daughters and can totally relate with you. We will vote for you for this reason. I am not a Brahmin but I can feel for you,” says Ritika Kapoor, a young housewife, as she hugs Neha.

Initially, Neha’s mother Gayatri Devi had expressed her desire to contest the election on Samajwadi Party ticket to help her daughter. Then she went to meet Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi in Delhi and the party decided to give her the ticket.

However, Gayatri’s name was found to be missing from the electoral rolls and then Neha was announced as an official nominee from the Kalyanpur Assembly segment.

The Kalyanpur constituency goes to polls on February 20 in the third phase of UP Assembly elections.

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