A police inspector was shot at, hit on the head with a blunt object in the violence that started with the discovery of carcasses of at least 25 cows in a village in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr. A cellphone video from the spot shows Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh's body falling off his police vehicle. His post-mortem report has confirmed a gunshot wound in addition to a head injury.
The cop was among the two persons who fell prey to the mob's fury besides a policeman who was seriously injured in the attack. An FIR has been registered against 300 people but there have been no arrests yet.
Inspector Singh's driver Ram Asre said it was the second time in the day the mob had attacked them. When Mr Asre was tried to take the injured officer to the hospital after the first attack, the mob blocked their way. "I ran for my life. I am not sure what the mob did when they reached the jeep," he said. The police said Mr Singh's revolver was also taken away by the attackers.
In 2015, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, whose family stays in Noida, was the investigating officer in the dreadful killing of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri by a mob over suspicion of cow slaughter and consumption of its meat. Sources say he was instrumental in getting the samples to the laboratory on time.
However, he was transferred to Varanasi in the middle of the investigation.
Trouble began this morning when carcasses were found and activists of right-wing organisations alleged that people of a community were indulging in cow slaughter.
Angry villagers and the activists gathered up the carcasses in a tractor trolley and tried to block the road. They attacked the police when they tried to clear the passage. They then brought the remains to the Chingarwathi police station and demanded action against the culprits.
Anuj Kumar Jha, the district magistrate, said senior officers attempted to speak to the protesters but they refused to listen.
Despite heavy police deployment in the area, things got out of hand. The police post was set on fire. So were the vehicles parked nearby.
"Around 400 locals gathered and pelted stones. The inspector was hit on the head and a couple of other policemen also injured," said Anand Kumar, a senior officer.
The police fired in the air and used batons to disperse the crowds. Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel have been deployed in the area to keep the situation under control.
The violence coincides with a three-day Islamic event that ended today. The police said around 15 lakh people were attending the event, which was held barely 50 km away.