The police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh who was posted as the station house officer (SHO) at Syana police station and was shot dead during the mob violence at Bulandhshahr by the members of right-wing outfits as he was investigating the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq, his sister told media. The location and timing further fuels the suspicion that it was a planned attempt to stoke tension as nearly 10 lakh Muslim devotees had gathered in Bulandshahr to pray on Monday. The 47-year-old SHO was shot in the head by mobsters as he tried to pacify the violent protesters triggered by rumours of cow slaughter.
“My brother’s killing is a conspiracy as he was investigating Akhlaq case and that is why he was killed. It’s a plot by the police. He should be declared a martyr and a memorial should be built. We do not want money,” she said.
The slain cop’s relative also lashed out at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath saying that he only keeps saying “cow, cow, cow,” when the law and order situation in his state has deteriorated.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Backward Classes Welfare Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar too alleged that the violence, which claimed two lives, was a “pre-planned” conspiracy by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Rajbhar said, “This is a pre-planned conspiracy by the VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS, now police are even naming some BJP members. Why did protest happen on the same day as the Muslim Ijtema event? It was an attempt to disturb the peace.”
Four people have been arrested so far. A suspected local Bajrang Dal leader, Yogesh Raj, is the main accused in the murder and rioting case. Two separate FIRs were filed — one in the violence leading to the two deaths and the other in the alleged cow slaughter case.
The Dadri lynching case had taken place on the night of September 28, 2015, in Bisada village of Dadri when a mob dragged 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq from his house and allegedly beat him to death.
Hailing from Etah district of Uttar Pradesh, Singh had been in police service for more than 30 years. He had been posted in Bulandshahr in September this year. He had succumbed to the bullet injury on Monday after the mob did not let police personnel take him to a hospital.
Subodh Kumar’s driver Ram Ashray told Afternoon Voice, “My Sir was mercilessly attacked by the mob with all sorts of slogan shouting. He was lying on the ground. I drove the car to a field and put him in it. As soon as we began moving, a mob landed and started shouting, ‘maaro, maaro’. They were hiding behind the trees and were throwing stones at us. Everyone started running away. I ran as well. The SHO was already injured and we were trying to take him to the hospital. We could hear gunshots from the sugarcane fields”.
Under the condition of anonymity, a subordinate of the cop said, “Attack on police is not a new thing in UP and there is no security to our lives if we are performing our duty; most of the police department works on the instructions of the political leaders.”
He went on saying, “Subodh Kumar-like cops are not liked by the ministers and the violent groups as he was doing what is right, but not what the violent communities want.”
Abhishek, the son of the deceased policeman while struggling to hold back his tears, wondered how many more lives will be lost over the Hindu-Muslim dispute. “My father wanted me to be a good citizen who doesn’t incite violence in the society in the name of religion. Today my father lost his life in this Hindu-Muslim dispute, tomorrow whose father will lose his life?” he asked.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced Rs 50 lakh assistance to the family members of Subodh Kumar Singh and also promised a job to a family member as well as “extraordinary” pension for the dependent family members.
Bulandshahr district magistrate Anuj Jha said, “I would say that the police officer was brave that he ventured into the crowd alone to pacify them. He was just doing his job. He was known to be a person who never backed down from any tough situation. We have lost an asset.”
The incident led to a political slugfest, with the Congress hitting out at the Chief Minister, saying he should first set his own house in order before “gallivanting” around the country for the election campaign.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that it was a shocking state of affairs how a mob killed a police officer investigating the Akhlaq case. “Who gives these people the authority to take law in their hands? Instead of taking care of his state, Yogi is going to Telangana and spewing venom,” he said.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the incident in Bulandshahr has let down humanity. “The state government has said that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice without any bias. I appeal to people to stay cautious of the elements who are creating unrest for their own interests.”
The Uttar Pradesh Police condoled Singh’s death and said that he “sacrificed his life” to uphold law and order in the district. “With his demise, we have lost one of our finest officers who will always be alive in our hearts as our hero. Our condolences for his family members and prayers for his noble soul,” the department’s official tweet read.
Congress leader Ankit Parihar from UP’s Bhagwantnagar told AV, “What Subodh Kumar Singh’s sister is claiming stands true whether you link it with Akhlaq’s case or the fact that he was rightfully doing his duty. He was shot dead on duty by them (right-wing activists) and it’s also the government’s responsibility which consists of people who claim that they are protecting their religion. Innocents are getting killed — this is shameful and the government should feel ashamed!”
Singh was posted as the station house officer (SHO) at Syana police station after having held the same post at Bisada village in Dadri. Notably, he was the first investigating officer in the Dadri lynching case in which Mohammed Akhlaq was killed over rumours of cow slaughter and beef consumption in 2015. Singh was associated with the probe from September 28, 2015, to November 9, 2015.
Reportedly, Singh’s prompt action in bringing evidence samples to the lab in time aided the arrest of the accused. Singh was later transferred to Varanasi, and the chargesheet of the case was filed by another investigating officer in March 2016. However, the start of the trial has been delayed as the city court is still hearing arguments against the 18 accused. All of the accused are currently out on bail.