Hours after Head Constable Suresh Vats was killed by a mob in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, the state police chose to respond to allegations of mismanagement of the probe into the murder of inspector Subodh Kumar Singh in Bulandshahr on December 3 at the hands of another mob.
Suresh Vats was the second policeman to die at the hands of a mob in a month.
Two weeks ago, more than 80 retired civil servants wrote a strong open letter on the killing of Inspector Singh at Bulandshahr, calling for the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and saying that fundamental principles of governance, constitutional ethics and of humane social conduct, stood perverted in the state.
In an article sent to journalists, Anand Kumar, the officer in charge of law and order in Uttar Pradesh, called the letter "unsubstantiated and divorced from facts".
"This kind of vilification by former bureaucrats is untenable and unacceptable. There is no denying the fact that the Bulandshahr episode has been an outlandish, bizzare incident triggered by a surcharged and frenzied mob, goaded by a mob or herd mentality. The chain of events culminating in the murder of the Inspector is undoubtedly a dastardly crime, shell- shocking and shuddering the entire administrative apparatus. Notwithstanding the gravity and import of the heinous crime, equating it with the collapse of constitutional values, is absolutely ridiculous, to say the least. Neither is this a first incident of its kind, nor is this the only instance where a police officer has been martyred at the altar of duty, enforcing the law," Mr Kumar wrote.
"The misplaced perception of these erstwhile bureaucrats, with due regards and apologies, stems from their opinions formed from Television debates and Media reports ignorant of the ground realities. The fact is that there is neither any covert or overt policy to intimidate minorities nor any intent to assert majoritarian hegemony. Implementing the Rule of Law without fear or favour and appeasement is the motto of the government which we, as practising officers, are implementing on the ground," Mr Kumar said.
The write-up by the senior officer echoes Chief Minister Adityanath's responses on the Bulandshahr incident.
Earlier this month, the Chief Minister said his government should be praised and thanked for whatever steps it has taken in the Bulandshahr case, in which Subodh Kumar Singh was killed in mob frenzy following the finding of some cow carcasses. The incident, he said, was a "political conspiracy" against his government, which has been "exposed".
"Those who are giving unnecessary statements are doing it to hide their failures. Instead, they should applaud the government and thank the government," Yogi Adityanath had told reporters in Lucknow.