Police inspector shot dead as vigilante mob violence erupts in India over cow slaughter

Protesters stone officers and set police station on fire after up to 25 animals found dead

Peter Stubley
Tuesday 04 December 2018 10:53 GMT
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Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh had previously investigated a notorious 'cow mob' killing in Uttar Pradesh in 2015
Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh had previously investigated a notorious 'cow mob' killing in Uttar Pradesh in 2015 (UP Police)

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A police inspector has been shot dead during clashes with a “lynch mob” protesting against the slaughter of cows in northern India.

Subodh Kumar Singh was killed as officers attempted to disperse a group of around 400 people at a village in the Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh.

An 18-year-old man was also killed and another policeman was injured during the violence on Monday.

Cows are considered holy by India’s majority Hindu population and in recent years there have been a series of violent “vigilante“ attacks in response to killings of the animals.

In 2015 a Hindu mob beat a Muslim man to death in Uttar Pradesh over claims his family had been eating beef at home.

Inspector Subodh Kumar was reportedly involved in investigating the case, which led to calls for prime minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the right-wing Indian People’s Party (BJP), to condemn the violence.

The latest violence began after a cow carcass was found dumped in a forest near the village of Mahaw. Some reports stated that as many as 25 carcasses were discovered.

Activists gathered at the spot to accuse another community of slaughtering the animals and a mob set fire to the Chingawarthi police post.

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“Around 400 locals gathered and pelted stones,” senior police officer Anand Kumar told India media. “The inspector was hit on the head and a couple of other policemen also injured.”

Video footage on social media showed the inspector's body lying half-out of his damaged police vehicle in the middle of a field.

The police fired in the air and used batons to disperse the crowds and around 1,000 extra officers have been deployed to the area to prevent further violence.

A local magistrate has since confirmed that Inspector Subodh Kumar died from a bullet wound to the head.

Uttar Pradesh police said in a statement: “Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh sacrificed his life to uphold law and order in the district.

“With his demise, we have lost one of our finest officers who will always be alive in our hearts as our hero.”

The killing prompted the Communist Party of India to suggest that “lynch mobs and vigilante groups are now killing policemen in uniform at the behest of BJP-RSS“, a reference to Modi’s party and the right-wing paramilitary organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The Indian National Congress party also tweeted: “Why is it that every time there is a case of violence driven by hate, members of the BJP are involved in some way?”

Four people have been arrested but the main suspect remains on the run, according to police.

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