A police Station House Officer was among two persons shot dead in mob violence Monday in a Bulandshahr village in western UP where cars were torched and policemen attacked by men alleging slaughter of cows and demanding immediate action. Police opened fire after the mob began stoning policemen at the police chowki in Siyana village.
SHO Subodh Kumar Singh, who was injured and was attacked again while being taken to hospital, died before he could be treated — a video clip that did the rounds showed the Inspector’s body in a Tata Sumo vehicle while protesters recorded the scene. Shots could be heard in the background.
UP Additional Director General (Law & Order) Anand Kumar said the “post-mortem report has confirmed gunshot injury to Subodh Kumar Singh in addition to injuries caused by a hard and blunt object. The entry of the bullet is near the left eyebrow.” Singh’s firearm and mobile phone are yet to be recovered.
Another policeman accompanying Singh sustained critical injuries and was referred to a hospital in Meerut.
A bystander, who police identified as a youth named Sumit, died of a gunshot injury as the two sides traded fire. Police believe Sumit, an undergraduate student at a government college, was not part of the protest. He was said to be visiting the area to drop a friend when he got caught in the mob violence.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident. An FIR has been filed under various IPC sections, including murder.
District officials said people showed up in tractors with what they alleged were cow carcasses, and demanded immediate action in the matter.
Bulandshahr District Magistrate Anuj Jha said: “We received information around 11 am that 15-20 cow carcasses were recovered by residents of Chingravati in Syana. People carried these 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.”
“In the clash, the Syana station in-charge was fatally injured while his gunner was critically injured. I would say that the police officer was brave that he ventured into the crowd alone to pacify them. He was just doing his job. He was known to be a person who never held back from any tough situation. We have lost an asset,” he said.
Ram Ashray, who was driving the SHO’s vehicle, said: “Sahab was lying on the ground. I drove the car to a field and put him in it. As soon as we began moving, a mob landed and started shouting, ‘maaro, maaro’. They were throwing stones from behind trees. Everyone started running. I ran as well. The SHO was already injured and we were trying to take him to the hospital. We could hear gunshots from the sugarcane fields. The attackers were throwing stones at us, and hurling abuses. There were two other policemen with me.”
According to police, the SHO and the policemen with him were cornered by the mob. An initial round of firing in the air to disperse them angered the crowd further, officers said. It appeared that the vehicle headed to the fields in an attempt to escape the mob, police said.
Moving to dispel rumours of any communal angle, police said the incident was not linked to the conclusion of the Ijtema, a three-day religious congregation for which hundreds of Muslims had gathered in Bulandshahr.
“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 after people started linking the violence to the Ijtema congregation.
ADG (Meerut) Prashant Kumar and IG Ram Kumar rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. Police presence in Syana as well as Bulandshahr city have been stepped up. Bulandshahr SSP K B Singh said: “We are observing the situation. Requisite police force has been deployed to maintain peace. Senior officers are also supervising the situation.”
Late Monday night, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced Rs 50 lakh assistance to the family members of Subodh Kumar Singh. The government also promised a job to a family member as well as “extraordinary” pension for the dependent family members.