A police inspector was attacked and shot dead by a Hindu mob protesting against alleged cow slaughter while a young man was gunned down in unexplained circumstances in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
The violence erupted after Hindu activists went berserk alleging that some cows had been slaughtered by a community, police said. Enraged, they loaded the carcasses on tractor trolleys and jammed traffic on a busy road.
A police team led by Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh rushed to the scene to pacify the protesters drawn from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Yuva Vahini and other right-wing Hindu groups.
He was, however, targeted and the crowd pelted stones at the police personnel, critically wounding the officer. The officer was also shot in the head and was declared dead at a community health centre.
In the melee, the crowd set on fire many police vehicles while passersby were also attacked.
Shots were fired by unidentified assailants in which a local youth, Sumit, was hit and he succumbed to his injuries.
Heavy reinforcements - five companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and six companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) - were rushed to the spot.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and directed Additional Director General (Intelligence) S.B. Shiradkar to present a detailed report within two days.
There were conflicting reports on how the inspector was killed.
While some sources said the police officer was attacked by blunt objects and stones, a video doing the rounds on social media showed the slain officer hanging upside down from his official vehicle, apparently shot in the head.
In the same video, apparently shot by locals, youths are seen running around the vehicle and identifying that the SHO has been shot. They run away thereafter and converge on the main road mouthing obscenities.
A post-mortem report later confirmed that the officer suffered both gunshot injuries and was also hit by a hard and blunt object. The officer had probed the lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri, also over allegations of cow slaughter.