Police officer killed after violence erupts overs cow slaughter rumours
Four men have been held over the killing of a police officer in mob violence that erupted after rumours spread that cows had been slaughtered. Subodh Kumar Singh was killed as police clashed with right-wing Hindu groups which said police failed to halt the killing of cows in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr.
Cows are considered holy by Hindus and many states have now banned cow slaughter.
The issue has sparked violence before, but an attack on police is unheard of.
So-called cow vigilantism has been on the rise and led to several killings in the past few years.
Police are now looking for 23 others suspected to be involved in Monday’s murder in Bulandshahr district. They have named Yogesh Raj, a member of the Hindu nationalist group Bajranj Dal, as the main accused. He stands accused of murder, attempt to murder and inciting violence.
The district organiser for the Bajrang Dal, however, has rejected the charges against Raj.
Many states, including Uttar Pradesh, have actively started enforcing bans on cow slaughter after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed India’s federal government in 2014.
In The incident, a mob attacked policemen and set fire to a police station in Bulandshahr, alleging cow slaughter in the area.
An 18-year-old protester was killed and another policeman was injured in the violence.
The police have registered cases of rioting, attempt to murder and destruction of property against 50 unnamed people.
Shops and schools in the area are shut and more than 1,000 policemen have been deployed, says BBC Hindi’s Nitin Srivastava in Bulandshahr.
The incidents of violence over alleged cow slaughter are not uncommon in this region, but a direct attack on the police is unprecedented.
The incident has prompted outrage on social media, with many calling the attack “senseless” and “barbaric”. Local villagers alleged that they found carcasses of some cows near Mahav village on Monday morning. They claimed that the animals had been slaughtered.
“The local police got information about cow slaughter after which they immediately started investigating the matter,” Anuj Jha, a top district official, told the reporters.
“But soon after, people in the area blocked the streets and started pelting the police with stones.”
Jha added that police officer Subodh Kumar Singh died in the clashes that followed.
It is unclear where the alleged cow slaughter occurred.
Police said they were investigating the incident to find out who instigated the violence.
The son of the slain police inspector said his father wanted him to be a good citizen who doesn’t provoke violence over religion.
“My father has lost his life in this Hindu-Muslim dispute. Whose father is next?” Abhishek Singh said.
Inspector Subodh Singh, who had initially probed the 2015 lynching of Dadri resident Mohammed Akhlaq over rumours about beef consumption, and a 20-year-old man were killed Monday during an attack on policemen.
The inspector’s sister alleged the killing was a “conspiracy” by the police.
“My brother was killed in a conspiracy by the police as he was probing a cow slaughter case (the Akhlaq lynching case),” Sunita Singh told reporters.
“He should be given a martyr’s status and a memorial should be constructed in his name in our native place,” she said.
“The cow is our mother, I accept that. My brother has given his life for her. The CM used to chant ‘gau, gau, gau’. Why can’t he come for cow protection?” she said in an emotional outburst against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Abhishek Singh said the last time his father called he asked about his studies and if he had eaten.