Cow Meat, Huge Mob: Why Bulandshahr Riot Timeline Doesn’t Add Up
Initial investigation by Uttar Pradesh police as well as eyewitness accounts from the spot, where a police officer and a civilian were killed on Monday, 3 December, in Bulandshahr, hint at an organised attempt at fuelling communal tension in the area.
As many as 27 people – including Bajrang Dal leader Yogesh Raj – have been named in two FIRs, while cases have been lodged against 50 to 60 unidentified people, the police said. So far, four arrests have been made.
The sequence of events that led to rioting and violence in Bulandshahr all raise questions that still remain unanswered.
1. Why Were Carcasses of Cows Hung in an Open Field?
Tehsildar Rajkumar Bhaskar, one of the first administrative officers to reach the spot in Mahaw village, told News18 that head and skin of a dead cow was hung in a sugarcane field. He pointed out that anyone who is involved in cow slaughtering will not publicly display a cow carcass, knowing the situation in the state where incidents of mob lynchings in the name of cow vigilantism have taken place.
2. How Did a Mob of 300-500 People Gather so Quickly?
The tehsildar, while speaking with the news channel, said that as soon as the news of the dead meat spread, a large crowd consisting of members from different Hindu outfits, including the Bajrang Dal, gathered at the spot. The crowd then loaded the dead body of the cow in a tractor and headed towards the Bulandhshahr-Garhmukteshwar State Highway to protest.
3. Location and Timing of the Incident Fuels Suspicion
The clashes broke out on the last day of a three-day congregation of Muslims – Tablighi Ijtema – in Bulandshahr. Around 10 lakh devotees, who were said to have attended the gathering, were supposed to take the same state highway where the protestors took the carcasses.
Almost a hundred men in tractors reportedly reached the Chingravati police post on the highway, where the crowd multiplied in size. Although the police tried to reason with the crowd, trying to calm them down, the mob refused to budge.
4. Slain Officer Was Investigating Dadri Lynching Case
Siyana SHO Subodh Kumar, who was shot dead while trying to pacify the crowd at the Chingravati police chowk, was an investigating officer in the mob lynching of Md Akhlaq in Dadri from 28 September 2015 till 9 November 2015. However, the charge sheet was filed in the case by a different investigating officer in March 2016. Kumar played a key role in giving the meat samples in the case to forensic lab, DNA reported.
According to the News18 report, several police officers who were present at the spot, said the mob did not allow the injured SHO to be taken to the hospital.
The police told News18 that the SHO and the accompanying policemen were cornered by the mob. They added that an initial round of firing in the air fuelled the anger of the crowd further.
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