The brutal killing of circle officer Zia-ul Haq, 32, has shocked the residents of Kunda and his village Noonkhar in Deoria where the body has been sent for burial.
People remember Haq as an upright officer who did not bow to the political masters for plum postings. Often, he was seen moving on the road with jawans during night patrol.
"Though people respected him, politicians hated Haq," said Munnawar Ahmed, a social worker.
"Unlike other officers, he did not visit the darbars organised by the leaders of political parties. They might have been looking for an opportunity to settle scores with Haq," he added.
Reports from Noonkhar said a pall of gloom descended on the area as the report of his murder filtered in late last night. Thousands of people assembled at the CO's residence to console the bereaved family.
Born and brought up in a poor family Haq was loved by everyone in the village because of his simplicity. His father was an employee in a private company in Mumbai. But after his son was inducted into the UP police, he left the job and settled down in the village. Senior police officers also rushed to console the family members.
Perhaps it was his devotion to duty that cost Haq his life. On Saturday night, when he was informed about the killing of gram pradhan Nanhey Yadav in Kunda, he rushed to the community health centre where the body was taken.
He alerted senior officers and the police station incharges of Kunda and Hathgawan about tension in the area.
Before the top officers could act, Haq and his gunner reached Balipur village and tried to control the rampaging mob. And that was when he was killed. Haq was posted as the CO of Kunda in July 2012. Though Kunda is notorious for crime, Haq did his best to check criminal activities there. Irrespective of the political affiliation of the criminals, he ensured that they did not take the law into their hands.
"After a long time, the people of Kunda were living in peace," said Avinash Kumar, a chemist shop owner on the main road of Kunda.
"The CO sahib was from a humble family. He was a God-fearing person and led a simple life," said Muhammad Rizwan, the owner of a bicycle shop.
"A condolence meeting would be organised at the local masjid and the mandir on Monday to pay respect to the departed soul," said Rajendra Singh a teacher at the primary school.