The district administration in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr on Monday invoked the National Security Act against three people of the seven people arrested in connection with the alleged cow slaughter incident last month, PTI reported. The ensuing mob violence claimed the lives of a police inspector and a civilian.

The three charged under the law had applied for bail. “There was a chance of them getting the bail,” said District Magistrate Anuj Jha. “Keeping that in mind, the National Security Act has been invoked against them. To maintain public order and amity, the three have been charged under the section 3 sub-section 3 of the NSA.”

“The action has been taken based on a police report which stated that the trio indulged in cow slaughtering for earning money illegally,” Jha added. “Their acts have hurt the sentiments of Hindus in Mahav and Nayabans village, after which the violence broke out in which people attacked the police with sticks and axe, among others, and Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed. This had disturbed public order and communal harmony.”

The police have so far arrested 35 people in connection with the December 3 violence, in which Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a 20-year-old man were killed. On January 2, the police arrested Yogesh Raj, a Bajrang Dal activist who is the key accused in the violence case.

Two first information reports were registered after the violence. The first, related to the mob violence, initially named 27 people. The other FIR was filed against those accused of cow slaughter.

The administration has been criticised for focussing more on the alleged cow slaughter. Days after the incident, Chief Minister Adityanath described the killing of the police inspector as merely “an accident” and claimed no incident of mob lynching had taken place in the state. Later, he termed the inspector’s murder a conspiracy.

On December 9, a police officer said the department would focus on the alleged incident of cow slaughter and not the murders. Additional Superintendent of Police (Rural) Raees Akhtar said the “cow killers are our top priority” and that “the murder and rioting case is on the backburner for now”.

On December 20, a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Anupshahr in the district wrote an open letter to former bureaucrats who had demanded Adityanath’s resignation over the mob violence and blamed them for only noticing the deaths of two people but not that of 21 cows.