At least 330 incidents of communal violence over alleged cow slaughter have been reported in Uttar Pradesh since June 2014, according to sources in the state police.
In Gautam Budh Nagar — the district where Mohammed Akhlaq was killed by a mob over rumours that he stored and consumed beef — 12 such incidents were reported since June 2014, sources said.
Of the 330 incidents recorded by the state police, 216 were reported from western UP, which includes Gautam Budh Nagar and Muzaffarnagar. According to police records, the regions that witnessed the most number of cases are Awadh (64) and Meerut (40).
In a four-part series in August 2014, The Indian Express had reported how low-key violence had kept the communal pot boiling in the run-up to bypolls in 12 constituencies in UP. Quoting police records, the series had reported that during the 75-day period between May 16, 2014 and July 31, 2014, 605 incidents of communal violence were reported, 60 of which were related to alleged cow slaughter.
State intelligence sources said eastern UP, which borders Bihar, is now being considered a sensitive area since inter-state cattle smuggling could lead to communal flare-ups. Ahead of assembly polls in Bihar, the state police have alerted eastern districts of Gorakhpur division to be on high alert.
In August this year, The Indian Express had reported that in the last one year, the Bihar Police recorded at least 10 incidents of communal violence over beef being allegedly found near temples.
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