An Uttar Pradesh police inspector, who had probed the Akhlaq lynching case in 2015, and a 20-year-old villager were killed as a mob went on the rampage against alleged illegal cow slaughter in Bulandshahr district of western Uttar Pradesh on Monday, police and district administration officials said. The state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The mob fury was triggered by the alleged seizure of cow carcasses from a jungle outside Mahaw village. Following this, villagers from Mahaw and nearby areas blocked the Bulandshahr-Garh state highway to protest against illegal animal slaughter.
“Activists of right-wing organisations gathered at the spot and alleged that people of a community were indulging in cow slaughter,” a police official said in Lucknow.
The situation got out of control around 10 am when about 400 angry villagers torched Chingravathi police outpost, torched several vehicles, including a police van, and used stones and guns in their three-hour-long clash with the police which opened fire, he said.
Inspector Subodh Kumar, who was posted at Syana police station, was killed in the violence and Sumit, 20, died of gunshot wounds, said additional director general (Meerut zone) Prashant Kumar.
Inspector Singh was the investigating officer in the Akhlaq lynching case of Dadri between September 28, 2015, and November 9, 2015. Akhlaq was lynched by a mob that had barged into his residence in Dadri following rumours that he stored beef in his house after slaughtering a calf.
Giving details of the chain of events leading to violence, district magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said that police and senior officials tried to reason with the protesters who had blocked a road but they refused to budge.
Soon after sub-divisional magistrate Avinash Kumar Maurya arrived on the scene, the villagers turned violent, pelting stones on policemen and indulging in arson. The inspector, who was hit by a bullet near left eye and suffered head injury during stone-pelting, died of excessive bleeding before reaching the Aurangabad community health centre (CHC), an official said.
A video showing the body of a policeman slumping to ground from the seat of a police vehicle, surrounded by some people, came to light after the incident. But the police refused to confirm if it was of inspector Subodh Kumar. However, a senior police official requesting anonymity said, “In all likelihood, the video appears to be of Subodh Kumar.” An FIR was lodged against seven people, whose names have not been disclosed, he added.
The violence erupted 40 kilometres from the venue of the Tablighi Ijtema, a three-day Islamic congregation attended by 15 lakh people in the district. The event had concluded on Monday afternoon. The state government has ordered an SIT probe.