Twenty-one people were arrested on Saturday following violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri over rumours of cow slaughter, just days after a Muslim man was lynched near the nation capital after claims that he had eaten beef.
Tension prevailed in Karhal town of Mainpuri after protesters targeted police vehicles on Friday and set shops afire, leaving seven policemen injured. The circle officer of the area has been suspended for alleged negligence in the case.
On Saturday, a government spokesperson said the violence started after the rumour was spread with the intention of triggering communal tension in the town. A post-mortem report later found the cow had died due to an ailment, he said.
The protesters had alleged that the cow, which was grazing in a field near the village, was taken away for slaughter and its skin was being removed in a house when some villagers barged in, the police said.
“When we did a post-mortem of the cow, it was discovered that the cow had been dead for a while. The people who usually remove bodies of animals had taken away the cow and were removing its skin. That is how the rumour started about the slaughter,” district magistrate Chandrapal Singh said.
The police reached the spot and arrested those removing the skin of the dead cow, the district magistrate said. “Those who were taking out the skin were arrested as well as those who incited the violence on the streets. Twenty-one people, including two who were removing skin of the dead cow, have been arrested,” he said.
Singh said that an FIR has been lodged against 29 named persons and 250 unidentified people for the violence.
The lynching in Greater Noida’s Dadri has raised fears of communal unrest in parts of the country and has been covered widely by local and international media at a time when Prime Minister Modi is hard-selling India to foreign investors.
Modi urged Hindus and Muslims on Thursday to fight poverty together and ignore “irresponsible” comments from politicians.
Modi’s pitch for religious harmony came amid a growing clamour for him to speak on 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq’s killing in Uttar Pradesh that sparked widespread outrage and a larger debate on the subject of beef ban.
With PTI inputs