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In Bulandshahr violence that killed 2, top cop says cow slaughter key issue

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Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday assured the family of a police inspector killed in mob violence in Bulandshahr that the guilty would not be spared even as a top police officer said that probing the alleged slaughter of cows, which triggered the clashes that also left a 21-year-old man dead, was more important.

The comment came just hours after the CM, in a late-night meeting, ordered strict action against cow slaughter, unlawful trade in cattle and illegal slaughterhouses, saying district magistrates and other senior police officials would be held personally responsible for any lapse.

Meerut inspector general (IG) of police Ram Singh told news channel NDTV that finding “who was behind cow slaughter… the cow conspiracy” was a “bigger question”. The director general of police, OP Singh, has already hinted at a “larger conspiracy” behind Monday’s violence in Bulandshahr. Adityanath also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, but it was not clear whether the Bulandshahr violence was discussed.

The police have filed two first information reports – one on the mob violence and the other over the alleged cow slaughter. In the first case, 28 people have been named, including the prime suspect, absconding Bajrang Dal office-bearer Yogesh Raj, who has claimed innocence in a video message and said he was not present at the scene of the violence.

An initial probe has revealed that both inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and Sumit, a 21-year-old man who goes only by his first name and who was allegedly a part of the rampaging mob, were shot dead with weapons of the same .32mm bore, said a senior police official.

Inspector general (crime) SK Bhagat also said Singh and Sumit died of injuries caused by .32 mm bullets, but whether those were fired from the same weapon would be known only after the report from the forensic lab was received.

Trouble began late on Sunday night when groups of villagers reported that cow carcasses were lying near Mahaw village. Around 11am the next day, protests against the alleged cow slaughter spun out of control and mobs clashed with security forces and set vehicles and a police post on fire in Bulandshahr, just 130 km from Delhi. Five officials were injured in the scuffle.

Bhagat confirmed the carcasses recovered from Mahaw village were found to be nearly two days old during the initial examination. This suggested that the cows were slaughtered on the intervening night of December 1 and 2, he added. The spot report also mentioned that the animals were allegedly slaughtered in the orchards and the fields but it was not clear how the carcasses reached near the village.

As Adityanath met Singh’s family, a local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader ,Shikhar Agarwal, who is also named in the FIR, released a video where he was heard blaming Singh for the violence and claimed that he was never at the spot, an assertion made by Raj in his Wednesday video.

Singh’s wife Rajni, who had earlier threatened to commit suicide if her husband’s killers weren’t caught, said she was confident of a fair investigation after meeting Adityanath. “My husband was a straightforward man and never used to succumb to pressures. He used to receive threats. He used to record the calls. This record has all gone with the mobile missing after his killing,” said Rathore.

“I have informed the chief minister about all this and he has assured us of a fair inquiry,” she added.