Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Tuesday asked top administrative and law enforcement officials to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged cow slaughter that had triggered violence in the state’s Bulandshahr district the day before. He sought strict action against the guilty.
Adityanath’s statement came after he held a meeting with the chief secretary, director general of police, home secretary and others. The chief minister told district collectors and police superintendents that they were responsible for enforcing the 2017 ban on illegal slaughter houses in areas under their jurisdiction.
Adityanath also announced Rs 10 lakh compensation for the family of a youth, identified as Sumit Kumar, who died in the violence along with police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh.
The chief minister’s statement – which does not refer to Singh or Sumit Kumar – came on a day the police named seven Muslims, including two children, in the alleged cow slaughter case. The case was filed at about 1 pm on Monday, hours after a mob led by Hindutva activists brought animal carcasses in a tractor trolley to the Chingrawathi police post and alleged that the carcasses were of cows that had been freshly slaughtered in a field in neighbouring Mahaw village.
The complainant in the case was Bajrang Dal office-bearer Yogesh Raj, who was identified as the main accused in the First Information Report filed in connection with the violence. He is yet to be arrested. The police have arrested four people and detained four for questioning in connection with the violence.
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh on Wednesday said the violence that broke out in the district is a “big conspiracy”. “This is not only a law and order issue, how did the cattle carcass reach there? Who brought it, why and under what circumstances?” he said, according to ANI.
On Monday, Adityanath expressed regret over the violence and the death of inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and set up a Special Investigation Team to conduct inquiries in the case. The chief minister also instructed Assistant Director General (Intelligence) SB Shirodkar to conduct inquiries and submit a report within two days.
The inspector’s family had earlier called the incident a police conspiracy and demanded justice from the state administration. The inspector’s sister Sunita Singh asked why Adityanath was yet to visit the grieving family. Adityanath had announced Rs 40-lakh compensation for Singh’s wife, Rs 10 lakh for his parents and a government job for a family member.
According to the autopsy, Subodh Kumar Singh Singh – who was the investigating officer in the Dadri lynching case, in which Mohammad Akhlaq was killed, for a couple of months in 2015 – was shot dead. The police suspect that the police officer’s murderers may have fled with his gun and cellphones.
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Wednesday said the violence in the district was unfortunate. “A Special Investigation Team has been formed and they are investigating,” ANI quoted Shah as saying. “It should not be politicised, everything will become clear when the SIT files its report.”
The Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ally in Maharashtra, asked if the ruling party had orchestrated the violence to create religious polarisation ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, pointed out that cow meat is widely used in Goa, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura too but violence or mob lynchings have not occurred there.
“Was the Bulandshahr incident orchestrated like the Muzaffarnagar incident before the 2014 polls?” the Shiv Sena asked. “The BJP knows that the 2019 elections will not be easy for it. Therefore, has it used its weapon of religious polarisation?”