National

Mob gathered fast, outnumbering police

The day after: The remains ofthe vehicle in which Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was attacked in Bulandshahr.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

A handful of police personnel deployed at an intersection of four villages were caught unawares on Monday and, according to eyewitnesses, were ill-equipped to fend off a mob, enraged by the alleged slaughter of 25 cows at Mahav in Bulandshahr district.

The policemen had locked themselves inside the Chigrawati outpost fearing for their lives.

The mob frenzy over the discovery of the cow carcasses at a sugarcane field, led to the death of Subodh Kumar Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of the Siana police station, and Sumit.

Sumit was a resident of Chigrawati village opposite the police outpost of the same name.

A mob of 300 to 400 armed with sticks, swords and firearms descended upon it around 1.35 p.m. Residents of Mahav, where the carcasses were found, alleged Bajrang Dal and Hindu Vahini activists provided the arms.

Shot dead

Mr. Singh, according to a police source, chose to confront the rioters head-on only to be overpowered, have his service weapon, mobile phones and walkie-talkie snatched from him before being shot dead with his own firearm.

Ranjeet Kumar (name changed on request), who is employed as a Home Guard with the local traffic police and resides at Mahav, blamed “the police for firing the first shot”.

“I was still in uniform and at the police outpost when the incident occurred; the Inspector (Mr. Singh) fired the first shot ... After he was killed, all the police personnel including the Circle Officer, locked themselves inside the outpost. The police back-up which arrived later had to cut through the iron mesh of the ventilation at the rear to rescue them after chasing away the mob,” he said.

“The Inspector was confronting Yogesh Raj (the prime accused in the case and a local Bajrang Dal leader) when someone threw a stone at him from the sugar cane field opposite the outpost as he was firing warning shots in the air. He thought it was Sumit who had attacked him with the stone. Suddenly, he pointed his gun at Sumit and shot him, point blank,” Mr. Ranjeet Kumar said.

No weapons

“No we did not have any weapons ... It’s not like we don’t have service weapons assigned to us — we have 10 to 15 armed personnel — but we didn’t have them at the time. But we did have sticks and batons but they were of no use. In any case, we couldn’t have used our weapons against the rioters because there was no clearance or order to do so from the leadership (of the force),” said constable Mahesh Chand, who witnessed the incident.

Yogesh Raj, the Bajrang Dal leader who approached the police with initial information about the alleged slaughter of the cows at a field in Mahav village, adjacent to his own village of Naya Bans, claimed in his complaint he had witnessed the slaughter of the cattle.

According to Preeti Kumari, however, on whose sugarcane field the carcasses were discovered, her husband Raj Kumar got word about “cow entrails” on his field around 7 a.m., following which local residents decided to “bury the remains and the matter” but the mob “decided against it.”

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 8:19:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mob-gathered-fast-outnumbering-police/article25665737.ece

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