Unidentified people dumped the carcass of a cow overnight at a Ranchi park that hosts daily gatherings of RSS activists, sparking tension in a state that has emerged as a flashpoint of communal conflagration.
Police removed the carcass on Thursday morning, soon after it was spotted by joggers and RSS activists carried out a ritual purification of the Ram Dayal Munda Park in the heart of the capital city.
The incident came just a fortnight after two Muslim cattle traders were killed in Latehar district and their bodies hanged from a tree, allegedly by right-wing Hindu groups.
Data for 2014 from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show 349 incidents of religious violence in Jharkhand, the highest in the country.
“An FIR was lodged against unidentified persons. From now on, senior police officers will frequent the area to prevent recurrence of such incidents. Additional forces have been sent to sensitive areas,” said Sudarshan Asti, deputy superintendent of police (city).
RSS leader Sujit Singh said the incident was part of a larger conspiracy to provoke the organisation, considered the ideological mentor of the BJP that rules the state.
“Ranchi has witnessed at least six such incidents in the last one year. Cattle are slaughtered and thrown near temples, parks and public places in an attempt to instigate us. We do have faith in the administration, but it has failed to curb such incidents,” Singh said.
RSS activists shouted slogans and blocked the road in front of the park demanding identification and arrest of people responsible for the act. They even threatened to resort to vigilantism unless police took immediate action against the culprits.
BJP legislator from Kanke, Jitu Charan Ram, visited the spot and asked the authorities to prioritise the case.
Senior police officers too rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control. The cordon was lifted after the protesters dispersed around 9.30 am and traffic restored.
Last year, Ranchi witnessed a riot-like situation after yet-to-be-identified people threw the head of a cow near a temple. Police caned protestors and clamped prohibitory orders across the city to diffuse the situation.
One person was killed and several others injured in communal clashes in other parts of the state in November last year.