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Anger in Mathura over fatal shooting of two jewellers

The holy town of Mathura was on Tuesday simmering with anger at the “failure” of the police to nab the assailants who shot dead two jewellers and fled with jewellery worth Rs 4 crore the previous night.

Anger against local politicians, including Mathura MLA and state Minister Srikant Sharma, was apparent at several meetings held in the city during the day. Meanwhile, ADG Agra zone Ajay Anand reached Mathura in the afternoon.

He told media persons that the culprits would soon be in police custody and the case would be worked out. He indicated that Uttar Pradesh Police chief Sulkhan Singh was likely to visit Mathura on Wednesday.

Mathura Kotwali or police station is barely 50 yards away from the site of the crime, a busy market street with a row of jewellers’ shops. The targeted shop is right in the middle of the street.

Civil Lines resident Mayank Agarwal and his brother Vikas Agarwal were in the shop as well as a worker from Meerut, around 8 p.m. on Monday. Shopkeepers told the police that around 8.30 p.m., eight persons on four mobikes, their faces covered and some wearing helmets, entered the shop and opened fire.

Megh Agarwal, 34, a jeweller from Delhi who had come for some deal, died on the spot. Vikas Agarwal died later in hospital. The armed men were in the shop for over 15 minutes, collecting whatever they could lay their hands on.

While the armed bandits were busy firing and looting, no one came to help. “In fact, the neighbouring shop owners downed the shutters virtually shutting themselves in and only ventured out when the police came,” a local said.

Police said the assailants came when the market was about to close for the day.

State Energy Minister Srikant Sharma, who is MLA from Mathura, said safety of traders and businessmen was a top priority of the government and drastic action would soon follow to instil confidence among the people.

Political activist Manoj Choudhary told IANS: “It was a gruesome murder and one in a series of recent criminal acts. The Rashtriya Lok Raj Party condemns and demands high level probe. It’s a black day in Mathura’s history.”

The rising graph of crimes in the twin holy cities of Mathura and Vrindavan has been a major cause for concern and was a major issue in the recent assembly elections.