A court in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr has dropped the sedition charge against all 38 accused of violence in December in which a police inspector and a village youth died, PTI reported. The police, however, said the charge had not been dropped and that they were waiting for permission from the state government.

Violence broke out in Bulandshahr last year following rumours of cow slaughter in Mahaw village. Police officer Subodh Kumar Singh and a 20-year-old villager died in the violence.

On March 2, almost three months after the incident, the Special Investigation Team inquiring Singh’s murder filed a chargesheet against five people for the killing. The team has also charged 33 others, including Bajrang Dal leader Yogesh Raj, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shikhar Agarwal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Upendra Raghav for inciting violence and arson.

The court took cognisance of the report on Tuesday, according to PTI. “During the argument, the court pointed out that the police does not have a requisite permission for pressing IPC [Indian Penal Code] Section 124A (sedition) against the accused,” defence lawyer Bruno Bhushan said. “The police needs to have permission from the Centre or the state government if charging anyone with sedition.”

Bulandshahr Superintendent of Police Atul Srivastava told PTI that sedition charges have not been dropped. “We are awaiting permission... no charge has been dropped,” he said.

Srivastava told NDTV that the accused will be charged with murder, attempted murder, criminal conspiracy, rioting and arson. He said the police now plans to file a supplementary chargesheet that includes charges under IPC Section 124-A after taking the Home Department’s permission.

Siyana Circle Officer Raghvendra Mishra said police have requested for permission to press sedition charges against the accused. “...the approval takes time because the agency concerned also conducts its inspections before granting permission,” Mishra said.