Two killed in vi­o­lence linked to dead cows in Ut­tar Pradesh

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

NEW DELHI: A vi­o­lent mob ram­paged through vil­lages in northern In­dia on Mon­day af­ter the dis­cov­ery of sus­pected cow car­casses, set­ting ve­hi­cles ablaze and mur­der­ing two peo­ple in­clud­ing a se­nior police of­fi­cer.

Police fired shots in the air as hun­dreds of vil­lagers, in­censed over the death of the an­i­mals, pelted stones at of­fi­cers sent to quell the vi­o­lence just 130 kilo­me­tres (80 miles) from New Delhi.

Anand Ku­mar, an ad­di­tional di­rec­tor gen­eral of Ut­tar Pradesh state police, said word spread quickly in Bu­land­shahr dis­trict when car­casses be­lieved to be cows were found dumped near a vil­lage.

“These were sus­pected cow car­casses and the vil­lagers were an­gry about it,” Ku­mar told re­porters. “There were around 400 peo­ple from three neigh­bour­ing vil­lages. They in­dulged in heavy stone pelt­ing and ar­son. Police ba­ton-charged and tried to bring the sit­u­a­tion un­der con­trol.

“Police re­sorted to fir­ing in the air to con­trol the crowd.”

Su­bodh Ku­mar Singh, a police in­spec­tor, and a lo­cal vil­lager were killed in the vi­o­lence.

It is not yet clear how they died. Police have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and said post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tions would be con­ducted.

Footage shared online showed ve­hi­cles on fire and huge crowds of men hurl­ing ob­jects at police. Ku­mar said more than a dozen cars were set alight.

It is il­le­gal to slaugh­ter cows or even pos­sess beef in many In­dian states. Some carry life sen­tences for trans­gres­sions.

Ut­tar Pradesh, the scene of Mon­day’s vi­o­lence, pro­hibits cow slaugh­ter. Its chief min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath has pushed for slaugh­ter­houses to be closed and cow shel­ters to be con­structed.

Cow slaugh­ter is a pow­der-keg is­sue in In­dia and one that rights group say has been stoked by hard­lin­ers to pro­voke vi­o­lence against the mi­nor­ity com­mu­nity.

In two prom­i­nent cases last year, a dairy farmer was mur­dered on a high­way for trans­port­ing cows and a Mus­lim teenager ac­cused of car­ry­ing beef was stabbed to death on a crowded train.

Crit­ics say vig­i­lantes have been em­bold­ened by the 2014 elec­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

Modi, who will seek a sec­ond term in of­fice in elec­tions by May, last year con­demned mur­der in the name of pro­tect­ing cows af­ter a string of vig­i­lante killings sparked protests.

- AFP

CHARRED: Smoul­der­ing ve­hi­cles are seen fol­low­ing mob vi­o­lence at Chin­gra­vati vil­lage in Bu­land­shahr, In­dia’s northern Ut­tar Pradesh state, on De­cem­ber 3, 2018.

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