A police constable was killed and other people were injured in mob violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district on Saturday. The incident occurred barely 15 kilometres from the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally. The mob was started by Nishad Party workers, and the rioters pelted stones at vehicles of local BJP leaders and workers returning from the rally.
Constable Suresh Vats was killed in the mob violence. Vats and his colleagues were returning from security duty at Modi’s rally.
A policeman who witnessed the incident said that the control room had alerted them that a large group of Nishad community members was blocking a highway near Itwa crossing to demand the release of a fellow-activist.
“We tried placating the agitators, but they just wouldn’t listen. Instead, they began throwing bricks and stones at us. About three of us were injured, and Suresh died before he could be taken to a hospital,” the policeman told NDTV.
Mahipal Pathak, a senior police officer, confirmed that the attackers belonged to the Nishad Party. However, party chief Sanjay Kumar Nishad has denied the charge. “We want a detailed police investigation into the incident. The BJP is trying to defame us by levelling false allegations,” Nishad said, as per the NDTV report.
Taking serious note of the incident, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who himself was present at the rally, directed the district magistrate and superintendent of police to take strict action against unruly elements and make immediate arrests.
Adityanath condoled the death and announced Rs 40 lakh and an extraordinary pension for the constable’s wife, Rs 10 lakh for his parents, and a job for one of his dependents.
UP director general of police O.P. Singh said that the incident was not related to Modi’s rally. He added that the violence broke out as a result of Nishad Party workers’ protest for the release of their workers who had been arrested earlier in the morning for blocking the road.
Singh said that constable Vats had been fatally hit by a stone on the head when the police force was trying to disperse the mob.
What we know about the arrests?
Reports on Sunday stated that 11 people had been arrested in connection with Vats’s murder. Two others were detained for questioning, while the First Information Report (FIR) in the murder case named 32 people, the police said.
On Monday, the Uttar Pradesh police arrested 16 more people. All the arrested are workers of the Nishad Party. The arrests were made based on video evidence put together by the police. A total of 27 people have so far been arrested in the case.
Earlier on Sunday, Additional Director General (ADG) of the Varanasi zone, P.V. Rama Shastri, said that Nishad Party leader Arjun Kashyap was one of the main accused in the case, and the police have claimed that they have sufficient evidence against him. “Raids are being carried out to arrest him and others involved in this case,” Shastri told India Today.
Police unable to protect their own: Slain cop’s son
V.P. Singh, Vats’s son, slammed the Uttar Pradesh police, saying that if they were not able to protect their own, what else could be expected from them.
“Police are not being able to protect their own. [sic] What can we expect from them? What will we do with compensation now? Earlier, similar incident took place in Bulandshahr,” V.P. Singh said, as per an NDTV report.
Mourning the death of his father, Singh indicated that the compensation will not be of any help. “What will we do with the compensation? I lost my father,” Hindustan Times reported.
Akhilesh Yadav slams Yogi Adityanath government
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, on Sunday, alleged that police officers in Uttar Pradesh are following the “Thok Do Neeti” (encounter policy) of chief minister Yogi Adityanath to avoid getting transferred.
Yadav raised a number of questions on the current law and order situation in the state, claiming that criminals had “doubled” in Uttar Pradesh under the BJP rule and “law and order situation was not so bad earlier”.
“UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath is advocating his Thok Do Neeti (encounter policy) everywhere. Due to this, there is a trend among the police officials that they undertake encounters when they anticipate that they can be transferred. Their acts are emulated by their subordinates,” Yadav told reporters in Lucknow.
What happened in Bulandshahr?
Vats is the second cop to be killed in Uttar Pradesh. Two weeks earlier, a cop lost his life in mob violence that erupted over an alleged incident of cow slaughter. Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a villager were killed in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, on December 3.
Police have said that Singh had his thumb chopped off and sustained head injuries in an axe attack before being shot dead.
“Inspector Subodh Singh reached the spot with police force and tried to pacify the mob. A villager, identified as Kalwa of village Chingrawathi, attacked the inspector with an axe in a fit of rage and chopped off his thumb.
“The injured inspector snatched the rifle of a policeman and tried to disperse the violent mob but he was again attacked with the axe sustaining an injury on his skull,” senior superintendent of police, Bulandshahr, Prabhakar Chaudhary, told Hindustan Times.
Three of the main accused in the case were arrested by the Bulandshahr police for their involvement in the cow slaughtering case, while two accused were nabbed by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) for the subsequent violence on December 3, news agency PTI reported.
Sachin Singh alias Cobra, 21, and Johnny Chaudhary, 19, were arrested by the Noida unit of STF from a bus stand in Gathiya Badshahpur in Siyana tehsil of Bulandshahr.
With the arrest of Singh and Chaudhary, the number of those held in the case has increased to 19, the police said.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius