After Dadri, tension now prevails in Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh where rumours of cow slaughter triggered violence with protesters targeting police vehicles and setting afire shops, leaving seven policemen injured.
Twenty-one people have been arrested for Friday’s violence even as the circle officer has been suspended for alleged laxity.
The violence started after some persons spread rumours of cow slaughter in Karhal area with an intention to trigger communal tension in the town, an official spokesman said on Saturday.
However, the post-mortem report found that the cow had died due to an ailment, he said.
As soon as the rumour spread on Friday, people in Nagaria village set police jeeps on fire and damaged several other vehicles and shops as they were agitated over rumours of cow slaughter in the village, police said.
It was alleged that a 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.
District Magistrate Chandrapal Singh said, "A rumour was spread here that a cow has been slaughtered. But when we did a post-mortem of the cow on Friday, it came to the fore that the cow had been dead for sometime. 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 cow being slaughtered."
Following this, some people came onto the streets and agitated.
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 violence.
"When the accused had already been taken away, the angry mob targeted police vehicles, throwing the policemen into a canal and setting their vehicles on fire. The mob also set one shop on fire as well as destroyed vegetables being sold in an open market here," the district magistrate said.
"A lot of policemen were injured including two station officers and five constables," he said.
Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav said attempts were being made to vitiate the atmosphere in Karhal.
"Attempts are being made in Karhal (Mainpuri) to vitiate the communal atmosphere. We are ensuring arrest of those involved in the incident," he had said.
Yadav also said that SP was fighting communal forces for a long time and would continue doing so.
The violence in Mainpuri comes close on the heels of the Dadri lynching incident in which a man was killed over rumours of alleged beef consumption.
Image: Police in action after villagers vandalised properties and resorted to arson over rumours of cow slaughter in the area. Photograph: PTI