The family of a police officer killed by a mob in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr last year, has demanded that the bail granted to seven of the 33 accused should be cancelled. Such people, they said, "should not be allowed to live in society". The men, released from jail last week, had been welcomed with garlands and chants of "Jai Shri Ram" by right-wing activists. Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Pradhan Maurya has dismissed outrage over it, saying one "should not make a mountain of a molehill".
Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was attacked by a mob of around 400 people when he went to restore calm in the area where violence had erupted with the finding of carcasses of 25 cows. The police said a man armed with an axe chopped off two of his fingers and hit him on the head. Others shot him. His body was found inside his official police vehicle, abandoned in a field.
The five men accused in the murder case are still in jail. The released men are among the 33 who were accused of inciting violence.
"The incident has been very painful for me. I am feeling sad over this justice (bail to accused). On what basis were they granted bail? What good have they done in the past six months that they have been released? I have only one demand from the Chief Minister -- their bail should be cancelled," the officer's wife said.
"Our only demand has been justice to my father. From the first day we have demanded that these people should be behind the bars for a very long time so that a good example is set. It is really saddening that they are out on bail," Mr Singh's son Shrey Pratap Singh told NDTV.
"Such people should not be allowed to live in the society. We can set a good example by keeping such people in jail, so that incidents like these don't take place in the future and these people don't get encouragement. This is my appeal to the judiciary and other sections of society not to give encouragement to such people," he told news agency ANI.
Those released on bail on Saturday included Shikhar Agarwal, the former chief of the local BJP youth wing, Hemu and Upendra Raghav, who are part of a right-wing group, a former army man identified as Jeetu Fauji, Saurav and Rohit Raghav. The videos of the welcome party, shot by local reporters, triggered opposition outrage after they were circulated on social media.
After the video of people welcoming the accused surfaced, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav slammed the state government. "Uttar Pradesh has seen fake encounters but an inspector died and the accused, when they came out on bail, they are being welcomed. Is this the new definition of democracy?" he said.
The government has downplayed the incident. "If supporters of people who have been released from jail welcome them, the government and BJP have nothing to do with it. The Opposition should not make a mountain out of a molehill," Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister KP Maurya was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.