A police Inspector and a youth were killed when a mob of around 400 persons clashed with the police following the alleged discovery of cow carcasses in a village in Bulandshahr district of western Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
Around half-a-dozen policemen, including a DSP, and several civilians were injured in the clashes, which saw firing from both sides and stones being pelted on the local police outpost at Chingravati in Syana.
Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, who was killed in the attack, was in-charge of the outpost.
A Special Investigation Team under the IG, Meerut, has been constituted to probe the incident, while the ADG-Investigation has been asked by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to submit a report within 48 hours.
While the police had initially maintained that the officer had died due to profuse bleeding following a head injury suffered in stone-pelting, ADG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar confirmed later that Mr. Singh had died of a gunshot injury, as shown by the autopsy report. This was in addition to the injuries he sustained from hard and blunt objects.
“The entry of the bullet is near the left eyebrow. As per the post-mortem report it appears to be a .32 bore bullet,” said Mr. Kumar.
Video footage showing the officer lying dead in his jeep in a field with youth seen around filming the scene on their mobile phones amid sounds of bullets being fired had put pressure on the police to clarify the cause of death. While the body was hanging by the door of the vehicle, the window panes were shattered and all doors were open. It is not known how the officer was caught alone in the vehicle.
Trouble started after the former pradhan of Mahav village Raj Kumar approached the police to complaining that bodyparts of five to six cows had been found in a field. Along with his team, Mr. Singh rushed to the spot to investigate and tried to calm the agitated locals, said police.
While the police assured the villagers of action and an FIR was also under process, some miscreants carried carcasses, “possibly of cow progeny,” on a tractor trolley, parked it outside the police outpost and blocked the road, said Mr. Kumar. District Magistrate Anuj Jha said the locals did not allow the police to seize the carcasses.
Around 400 persons had assembled near the police outpost from three villages — Mahav, Chingravati and Mahavas — said Mr. Kumar.
While the villagers first seemed to agree with the police assurances, some began “heavy stone-pelting” on the outpost, following which police had to resort to a lathi-charge and firing in the air to disperse the crowd, said Mr. Kumar. The village mob retaliated with firing from countrymade pistols, the officer said.
The mob also damaged at least 15 vehicles outside the police outpost, officials said.
In the clashes, a local youth, Sumit Singh, suffered gunshot wounds and died later at a hospital in Meerut. Police are investigating whether he was killed in police firing or in firing from the villagers.
BJP district president Himanshu Mittal said he had heard that two activists of the party had been shot in the incident. However, he could not confirm the names.
It is alleged that local right-wing groups and BJP members instigated the locals to gather at the police outpost.
Officer in Dadri case
Inspector Singh was the investigating officer (IO) of the Dadri lynching case resulting in the death of Mohammad Akhlaq from September 28, 2015 to November 9, 2015. The chargesheet, however, had been filed by a different IO in March, 2016, said a senior police officer.
Security has been beefed up in the district and five companies of the Rapid Action Force and six additional companies of the PAC have been deployed to maintain order.