The police have arrested 11 people in connection with the murder of a head constable by a mob in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district on Saturday, Director General of Police OP Singh said. Eight people have been arrested in two other cases related to the incident, he said.
Singh identified the head constable as Suresh Pratap Singh Vats, and said he was killed in a stone-pelting incident. The First Information Reports filed after the incident name 32 persons and mention 70 to 80 unidentified persons, said PV Rama Sastry, the additional director general of Varanasi zone, according to ANI.
Vats, 48, was killed after the mob started throwing stones at police personnel trying to disperse them and control a traffic jam caused by the protests. The protestors allegedly belonged to the Nishad Party, and had staged demonstrations earlier in the day to demand reservations for the Nishad community. They gathered again in the evening to demand the release of four workers arrested by the police, reports said.
Several vehicles with people coming back from a rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi got stuck in the blockade, reported The Hindu. The rally was held just hours earlier about 15 km away.
Earlier in the day, Nonhara Police Station House Officer Indra Rakesh Mishra said Nishad Party workers had heated arguments with those returning from the rally, The Indian Express reported. “Protestors refused to clear the path until their four associates were released,” he added. “A stone hit Suresh Vats on his head and he fell to the ground.”
At least four persons were injured, including two police constables and two civilians. They are in a stable condition. A doctor at the Ghazipur Sadar Hospital said a postmortem examination was being conducted, ANI reported.
OP Singh said the incident had no connection with Modi’s rally, reported the Hindustan Times. Vijay Singh Meena, the inspector general of Varanasi range, said police were using video footage to identify those incited the mob.
Nishad Party President Sanjay Nishad demanded a detailed police investigation into the incident, and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to defame his outfit.
The party’s leader and Gorakhpur MP Praveen Nishad told The Hindu denied his outfit’s role in the violence. He said his party workers were staging a peaceful protest when BJP members returning from the rally in vehicles began chasing and attacking them. “Due to the attack, local villagers came to the support of our workers and this led to an altercation,” he said. “The incident regarding the constable [stone-pelting] took place through the BJP workers.”
On Saturday, Chief Minister Adityanath directed the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police of the district to penalise the accused. His office also announced a compensation of Rs 40 lakh for the wife of constable and Rs 10 lakh for his parents.
The constable’s son, VP Singh, told ANI: “When a policeman’s life is threatened during a mob attack, how can we expect them to protect a common man? What will we do with the compensation now? Nothing has changed even when there were similar incidents in Bulandshahr and Pratapgarh.”
This is the second incident of a police official dying in a mob attack in the state this month. On December 3, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed in Bulandshahr district by protestors angry about alleged cow slaughter.