What is the true story behind the Bulandshahr violence?

The violent clash between police and villagers on Monday morning in Bulandshahr district of Western UP has claimed two lives – Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and 20-year-old youth Sumit (last name not known).

This is the sequence of events that HinduPost has uncovered from ground sources –

Early on Monday morning, villagers discovered carcasses of around two dozen cows in a sugarcane field in Syana police station area, district Bulandshahr. Police was informed and arrived at the spot, but they were dismissive and reluctant to lodge an FIR. This angered the already agitated villagers who loaded the carcasses on a tractor-trolley and decided to jam a nearby state highway in protest.

Police resorted to lathi charge to clear the road-block, and in the general melee that followed both sides threw stones at each other. One of those stones hit Inspector Singh. Soon, police resorted to firing and one of those bullets hit Sumit in the chest injuring him grievously (he died later that same evening). The incensed crowd now completely lost control and attacked the police station, quickly outnumbering the police force. Their ire was directed at Inspector Singh, who as the senior-most police officer had allegedly ordered the firing, and he was critically wounded and succumbed to his injuries.

This Dainik Jagran report provides a similar sequence of events –

7 AM: Carcasses of several slaughtered cattle arre discovered
8 AM: Villagers start gathering at field where the carcasses were found
9 AM: Representatives of Hindu organizations reach the place
9.30 AM: A police team arrives
10.00 AM: Villagers start getting agitated
11.00 AM: Villagers load the carcasses on a tractor-trolley and jam the Syana-Bulandshahr highway near the Chigrawati police station
12.00 PM: Police resorts to lathi charge
12.30 PM: Stone pelting breaks out between police and villagers.
1.00 PM: Sumit and Inspector Subodh get injured.
2.00 PM: The inspector dies while being taken to Lakhawti CHC, and Sumit is referred to Meerut from the CHC.
4.00 PM: DM and SSP arrive
4.30 PM: ADG Meerut Zone and IG-Range arrive
5.00 PM: Sumit passes away in a Meerut hospital
5.30 PM: Commissioner also arrives, PAC deployed in the village

But the narrative in English-language media is significantly different in both substance and tone. There, the murder of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh is being presented as a pre-planned conspiracy to take revenge for his role in probing the 2015 Dadri case where a Muslim man was murdered for slaughtering a calf.Some outlets like Navbharat times (Hindi language newspaper of the The Times of India group)- are even casting doubt whether cow slaughter actually took place or it was just a rumour. While the mob violence is completely inexcusable, Sumit’s death has been completely ignored and no English-language media outlet has approached his family to understand their version of events. But Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran has plugged that gap.

Sumit died on Monday morning while he was being taken to Meerut for treatment, and his body was kept at Meerut medical college mortuary for post-mortem. His  inconsolable family was camped outside the mortuary, and on Tuesday morning his father claimed that his son was shot dead by Inspector Subodh. The family said that Sumit had left the house to drop off a friend at the bus stand, and five minutes later they learnt that he had been shot. He had no criminal record and was not involved in the violence, they claimed.

Sunil’s father (left) and other bereaved family members (right) (Credit: Dainik Jagran)

His post-mortem report has not been made public yet, but the SP (City) said that prima-facie it appears that Sumit died because of a bullet injury. He added that whether that bullet was fired by police or someone else, needs investigation.

While Delhi-centric national media has presented this as a black & white example of ‘cow vigilantism’, local reporters have raised some searching questions on police handling of what is a fairly common occurrence in UP, i.e. irate villagers resorting to road blocks as a means of protest:

Why didn’t police lodge an FIR right away when the carcasses were discovered, and assure villagers of speedy action? Were they hasty in resorting to lathi charge and firing? Why weren’t senior police and administration officials called to negotiate with the villagers if they were refusing to listen, as is the norm?

Questions over naming of Yogesh Raj as ‘key accused’

Police has lodged a case against 88 people (27 named) and arrested 4 – Chaman, Devendra, Ashish and Satish – in this incident thus far. Bajran Dal’s district co-ordinator Yogesh Raj has been named as one of the key accused and is being traced.

However, local sources have informed HinduPost that Yogesh Raj was actually lodging an FIR at Syana police station at 1.02 PM, against the illegal cow slaughter that triggered this incident. The time mentioned on this FIR also confirms that there was an inordinate delay of around 4 hours in lodging the FIR in this sensitive case where a large number of cattle had been slaughtered.

The FIR lodged over the violence and murder of Inspector Subodh mentions the time of that incident as 1.35 PM. Now, Sayana police station is 4-5 km away from the Chigrawati police station where the violence broke out. So the question locals are asking is how could Yogesh Raj be lodging an FIR at 1 PM, and then also be responsible for the murder of the police inspector just minutes later at a spot 5 kms away?

HinduPost has obtained copies of both the FIRs, but have not been able to independently verify the same –

1.) FIR against cattle slaughter lodged by Yogesh Raj at 13.02 hours, Monday (3rd December) –

 

2.) FIR for murder and violence lodged on 4/12, 02:51 AM, which shows time of offence as 13:35 on 3/12.

Police cracks down on beef mafia

There have been multiple incidents of cow slaughter in Bulandshahr district over the last week. Following the violence on Monday, police swung into action and arrested around a dozen people for cow slaughter in a series of raids on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, slaughtered cattle remains were found in Jahangirabad for which 4 men – Arif Quereshi, Aman Khan, Rakib Malik and Wasim Pathan – were arrested. Incidentally, Bulandshahr saw a massive Muslim gathering (ijtema) from Dec 1-3 organized by Tablighi Jamaat and attended by Muslims from all over Bhaarat and other countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc.

The fact is that Western UP for over a decade now has resembled a powder keg. Demographic changes and a compromised law & order machinery have meant that incidents of cow slaughter, sexual harassment and even minor disputes, all have the potential to spark communal violence at any time.

Lynching and mob violence are not phenomena that developed overnight from May 2014 onwards, but are a result of the very real social fault-lines and law & order challenges that this part of UP faces – facile media analysis and coverage notwithstanding.


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