The death of a police officer in mob violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr is a result of the “growing impunity” that perpetrators of cow-related violence have in the state, non-governmental organisation Amnesty India said on Tuesday. A civilian was also killed in the violence in Mahaw village on Monday after residents allegedly found cow carcasses.
“The disturbing truth is that cow vigilante groups operate in many cases with the tacit approval of state authorities,” Amnesty India Programmes Director Asmita Basu said. “The sad reality in Uttar Pradesh is that neither police nor marginalised communities, or in fact any one, are safe from the violence perpetrated by cow vigilantes.”
Basu said that while the family of Mohammad Akhlaq – who was lynched in Dadri two years ago on the suspicion of consuming beef – is still awaiting justice, the family of Subodh Kumar Singh – the policeman who was killed by a mob on Monday – is now in mourning. Singh was the investigating officer in the Akhlaq case for a few months in 2015.
The police have so far arrested four people and detained as many for questioning. The main accused in the violence, a Bajrang Dal leader, has not yet been arrested. A Special Investigation Team has been set up to look into the violence. However, the family of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh called the incident a “police conspiracy”.
Basu observed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, as an MP in 2016, had demanded that the family of Mohammad Akhlaq be prosecuted for cow slaughter, and stripped of compensation from the state government. “Adityanath must take responsibility for the death of the police inspector,” Basu said. “A culture of fear, hatred and impunity has spread across Uttar Pradesh. Many more will be attacked by cow vigilante groups in the state if the government does not end the prevailing impunity and bring those responsible to justice.”
“The increased religious divisions that this government encourages only puts ordinary people at risk of discrimination, hostility and violence,” Basu added. “This must end immediately and the government must commit to respecting the rights of all people.”