Bulandshahr tragedy originated at the backdrop of persistent cow slaughter in the state and its subsequent overt display for sales in a bid to escalate communal tension in the area, as insinuated by police officials.
A violent clash between the police and villagers of Mahaw on Monday after a mob turned violent in an alleged case of illegal slaughtering of cattle, resulted in the death of station house officer (SHO) Subodh Kumar Singh, 47, and a youngster.
Among the first administrative officers to reach the spot in Mahaw village was Tehsildar Rajkumar Bhaskar. he said, “Dead cow meat was hanging in a sugarcane field. Head and skin of a cow hung as if they clothes on a hanger. It is strange because anybody who would indulge in cow slaughter would not put it out for display knowing the situation in the state. It was visible from far away.”
The Tehsildar said that as soon as the news of dead meat spread, members of Hindu Yuva Vahini, Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal appeared on the spot and started agitating. The crowd then loaded the carcass on a tractor and tried to take it towards Bulandshahr-Garhmukteshwar State Highway to protest.
The location and timing further fuels the suspicion that it was a planned attempt to stoke tension as nearly 10 lakh Muslim devotees had gathered in Bulandshahr to pray on Monday as it was the last day of Ijtema, an essential part of the Tablighi Jamaat. The devotees were also supposed to take the Bulandshahr-Garhmukteshwar State Highway to return the very day.
Back in Mahaw, the state-officers and local police stood in front of the tractor and requested the mob to calm down. “We wanted the matter to end in the village itself,” added the Tehsildar. However, the crowd did not budge.
Almost a hundred men in tractors reached Chingravati police post on the highway. The crowd soon multiplied in size. The police tried to reason with them and questioned them to register an FIR, but the mob turned violent.
“People carried cow carcasses in tractors and other vehicles to state roads, and in front of the Chingravati police chowki. Police officers from Syana station began questioning these people to file an FIR. During that process, certain anti-social elements created a ruckus and light force had to be used to contain them. Matters escalated and people began pelting stones,” he said.
It was during this clash that Siyana SHO Subodh Kumar Singh was shot dead while his gunner sustained a critical injury.
Several police officers present at the spot later informed that the cop could have been saved, but the mob did not let him be taken to the hospital. Ram Ashray, who was driving the SHO’s vehicle, was among the first ones who spotted the injured officer. He rushed to him in his car in order to get him first aid.
Several police officials identified most of the stone-pelters as members of Bajrang Dal, Hindu Yuva Vahini and Shiv Sena.
Uttar Pradesh police denied that any communal angle was involved in the case and said the incident was not linked to the conclusion of the Ijtema, a three-day religious congregation.
“Please don’t spread misinformation. This incident is not linked to the Ijtema procession in any way. The Ijtema concluded peacefully. The current incident happened 45-50 kilometres away from where the Ijtema was held. Some rowdy elements are the perpetrators of this incident. Statutory action is being taken in the case,” Bulandshahr Police tweeted from its official handle.