Two weeks after a police officer was killed in mob violence over alleged cow slaughter in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr, five more arrests have been made, three for cow slaughter. The two others were arrested for mob violence but the main accused in the killing of inspector Subodh Kumar Singh on December 3 is still roaming free, posting videos from hiding.
Those arrested on Tuesday for alleged cow killing that led to mob violence are Nadeem, Raees and Kala. "They were part of a gang that hunted cows and shot them with a double-barreled gun. They would slaughter the cows using sharp instruments like knives and share the meat," senior police officer Atul Srivastav said.
A gun and knives used to kill cows have been found from the men, the police claim.
Significantly, none of these names were in the original complaint of cow slaughter filed by Yogesh Raj, the Bajrang Dal leader who is the main accused in the killing of inspector Singh.
There is also no evidence against four others initially arrested in the cow slaughter case, police sources have told NDTV. Two of the four men - Sarfuddin and Sajid - were named in the FIR by Yogesh Raj, key accused in the incidents of mob violence and the murder of the inspector. The police say they will move court for the release of these men.
On December 3, the violence started over cow carcasses found scattered in a forest. The police officer was cornered in a field, attacked with a stone and finally shot dead in mob frenzy.
Yogesh Raj and another accused Shikhar Agrawal, a leader of the BJP Yuva Morcha in the area, have been missing since the incident.
Yogesh Raj even posted a video claiming he is innocent. Shikhar Aggarwal gave an interview to a news channel, but the police have not been able to track down either of them. An army jawan, Jitendra Malik, was arrested last Saturday.
The Special Task Force (STF) has arrested two more for instigating mob violence - Sachin Singh or Cobra, 21, and Johnny Chaudhary, 19 - taking the total number of people in custody to 19. But the family of the Inspector says the real killers are still scot-free.
"My husband worked for the country and died. Why are my husband's killers still free," wept the inspector's wife Rajni Singh, who says she had been assured justice when she had met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. "Tomorrow it will be someone else and every mother will be afraid of her son joining the police force."
The police say they need more time to interrogate the accused and bring out the truth.
The police so far have named 27 people in the First Information Report and cases have been filed against another 50-60 unidentified persons for violence.