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UP: Uneasy calm in Mainpuri a day after cow slaughter rumours

An uneasy calm prevailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri district on Saturday as police arrested 21 people a day after a mob went on a rampage following rumours that a cow had been slaughtered.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2015 21:46 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Police men arrive after villagers vandalised properties and resorted to arson in Mainpuri district on Friday over rumours of cow slaughter in the area.  Twenty one people were arrested on Saturday in connection with the incident.
Police men arrive after villagers vandalised properties and resorted to arson in Mainpuri district on Friday over rumours of cow slaughter in the area. Twenty one people were arrested on Saturday in connection with the incident. (PTI)

An uneasy calm prevailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri district on Saturday as police arrested 21 people a day after a mob went on a rampage following rumours that a cow had been slaughtered.

The violence came against the backdrop of simmering tension in the state’s Bisada village after the brutal killing of a 55-year-old Muslim blacksmith, Mohammad Ikhlaq, on suspicion of slaughtering a cow and storing beef in his refrigerator.

Police stood guard in the town of Karhal where a mob burnt burnt vehicles and shops on Friday after rumours that two butchers had been spotted slaughtering a cow spread like wildfire in the region. The men were attacked by villagers and police had to fire in the air to disperse the violent protesters.

Markets remained closed and traffic was thin with people staying indoors as the local MP, senior superintendent of police and district magistrate attended a peace meeting addressed by leaders of different faiths.

“The situation was peaceful on Saturday,” said DC Mishra, inspector general of Agra zone.

A government spokesman saidFriday’s violence started after the cow slaughter rumour was spread with the intention of triggering communal tension in the town.

The protesters alleged a cow 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. A post-mortem report later found the cow had died due to an ailment.

“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,” said the district magistrate, Chandra Pal Singh.

Singh said an FIR has been lodged against 29 named people and 250 unidentified people for the violence.

Ikhlaq’s killing in Dadri on the outskirts of Delhi sparked widespread outrage and intensified a larger debate on the issue of the beef ban, besides stoking fears of communal unrest in parts of the country.

Read | 21 arrested after violence over cow slaughter rumour in UP’s Mainpuri