The Uttar Pradesh government included on Monday stringent charges under the National Security Act (NSA) against three people accused of slaughtering cows in the Bulandshahr district, an incident from last month that is believed to have been the trigger for violence that led to the deaths of two people, including a police inspector.So far 35 people have been arrested in connection with the violence, including the alleged shooter of the inspector, Prashant Nat and Yogesh Raj, a district co-ordinator for a right-wing group. Suspects charged under NSA can be detained for up to a year without a chargesheet in court, as opposed to regular rules that entitle a person to default bail if investigators fail to bring a formal indictment within 90 days.“Their actions hurt the sentiments of Hindus in the area... This had disturbed public order and communal harmony,” said Bulandshahr district magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha. He added that the three applied for bail, which was rejected. A district administration official, who asked not to be named, said the police feared the perpetrators could slaughter more cows and that “this may cause serious threat to law and order, peace and communal harmony in the area. Therefore, it has been decided to book them under NSA,” added the officials.Afaq Ahmad, advocate for the three accused, said they had been falsely implicated in the cow slaughter case. “I have not received a copy of NSA against them. If it is true, we will challenge the decision,” he added.The NSA is usually invoked in far more serious cases involving matters of national security, although the law gives administrators and police officials wide leeway in its use. Late last year, a Manipuri journalist was held under NSA and jailed for a year for criticising the local government. Violence in Bulandshahr’s Mahav village on December 3 saw mobs of right-wing Hindu groups to go on a violent protest. One of the protesters is believed to have shot dead the local police station in-charge Subodh Kumar, while a local resident was killed as cops opened fire to tackle the situation. The use of NSA comes at a time when the UP police and the government are accused of going easy on the suspects, including Raj, the district coordinator of Bajrang Dal, a hardline group affiliated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.Over the weekend, local Bajrang Dal members put up posters featuring the faces of Raj and several others accused in the December violence. The group’s western UP region co-convenor Praveen Bhati, whose photo also appears in the hoardings, said the hoardings carry pictures of local functionaries group. “Also, they all are accused in the case, not guilty. It is for the court to decide. Putting pictures of organisation’s office bearers on hoardings is not a crime,” Bhati told PTIThe murder of inspector Kumar is part of a separate investigation from the case against the alleged cattle traders who were booked under NSA: Azhar Khan, Nadeem Khan and Mehboob Ali of Syana town. Cattle carcasses were found strewn in the fields outside village Mahaw in Siyana on December 3.