ON the December 3, 2018, remains of cow-flesh were found in a field in Mahav village, Bulandhshahr district. There was an uproar by people alleging ‘cow slaughter’ and, in a short time, hundreds of men collected shouting slogans about ‘mother cow’ and ‘mother India’. Some people filled a trolley with the remains and drove it to the main road in front of the Chingraoti Chowki (police post) and blocked the road. The attempts by the police to pacify the mob proved useless and stone-throwing on the Chowki started and police vehicles were burnt. A police Inspector was murdered on the spot and a young rioter was also killed in firing.
This horrific crime shook the entire country. Many video recordings went viral. A CPI(M) delegation visited the area and carried out a detailed enquiry which revealed many astonishing facts that exposed a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by saffron gangs. These have serious implications for the entire country.
According to the police, the cow remains were three-days old. The killing of these cows did not take place in the field but the remains had been brought from elsewhere. The area where the remains were found is surrounded by villages with Hindu populations. Muslims are present in negligible numbers. It is impossible to believe that a Muslim would kill a cow in amidst of Hindu habitation.
The first government official to reach the spot was Rajkumar Bhaskar- Siyana Tehsildar. His statement was published in the Hindustan (Hindi paper) of December 4 and was as follows: “I was the first to reach the field in Mahav. I was amazed by the scene that I saw there because the so-called pieces of cow meat were tied hanging from trees and from the tops of the sugarcane bundles. This is a deep conspiracy. Because cow killers always put the cow meat away as soon as possible. Will they advertise what they have done by hanging the meat from the trees?’ It is also true that Mahav and other villages in the area are Hindu-dominated. It is inconceivable that any Muslim would have come here to slaughter cows. In any case, farmers in the area and their employees are out guarding their fields at night and outsiders would not have dared to come and slaughter cows in someone else’s field in another village.” Despite this being published, this aspect was never taken into account in the enquiry that followed.
A video shot during the road-block has the following sequence: two young village boys who are standing near the tractor-trolley are asked ‘Where is this from’ and they reply ‘Mahav’. Then they are asked ‘Do you know who killed the cows’ and they reply very naturally ‘Kundan’. Despite the fact that this video went viral on social media, it did not form part of either the initial police enquiry or the SIT enquiry that followed.
Enquiries have also revealed that more than 2000 calls on mobiles were made in the three villages of Mahav, Nayabaas and Chingraoti in the morning of December 3 to spread the news about ‘cow slaughter’ and to mobilize the crowds. This illustrates the capacity of the saffron organization to organise incendiary mobs.
The next day, another incident of cow remains being found occurred near Jehangirabad village. This time, the sensible farmers wasted no time in burying them. When some heroes of the Hindutva brigade tried to create trouble, they were chased away. On the third day, a bull was beaten to death by a farmer in village Ilana. Hindutva heroes arrived there also in an attempt to organize an attack on the Muslims.
It is clear that it is not just Muslims who are responsible for slaughtering cows. Saffron goons can go to any extent to heighten communal polarization. On the other hand, herds of stray cattle are destroying crops and are being attacked by angry Hindu farmers. The situation is complex because it can be used by the Hindutva brigade to incite rioting.
The FIR regarding the Mahav ‘cow slaughter’ was registered in the Siyana Police Station by Yogesh Raj, district convenor of the Bajrang Dal who has been named as the main accused in the attack on the Chingraoti Chowki. He had registered the FIR before road block and had named persons from his village including two minor boys. Their names were removed from the FIR by the police but other names were added. Most of these names are of people who had left the village years ago.
It seems as if Yogesh Raj himself is responsible for placing the cow remains in the field. He is responsible for spreading rumours in the area. He is responsible for taking the remains to the road in front of the Chowki and blocking the road. He incited people to burn vehicles and pelt stones. He is the prime accused in the murder of Inspector Subodh Singh and he was allowed to evade arrest for a whole month.
But those named by him in his FIR, Sharfuddin, Sajid from his own village, Naya Baas, Asif from Aurangabad and Nanhe from Khelia and two others were all immediately arrested. The truth is that Sharfuddin and Sajid were running a Madarsa in the village mosque which was opposed by Yogesh Raj who had the loudspeaker removed and the Madarsa closed. He used this incident to further harass them.
He also named Sudaif Chowdhry of Siyana who is a popular social worker. On January 26, 2018, Yogesh Raj organized a ‘tiranga yatra’ (tricolour procession) with his Bajrang Dal workers. They rode their bikes through the Muslim-dominated areas of the town, shouting anti-minority slogans and vandalized and looted some shops belonging to Muslims. Obviously, they wanted to start a riot but the Muslims remained calm. In the evening, Sudaif organized a procession of thousands of Muslims and Hindus who carried tricolours in their hands and raised only one slogan- “Hindustan zindabad’. This was much appreciated by all and Yogesh Raj felt that he had been out-manoevred and in a vindictive act, he named Sudaif in the FIR and he too was arrested.
Muslims are living in fear in UP’s Yogiraj. When will the next cow be killed? Who will be accused falsely? No political leader is willing to speak on their behalf. Muslim leaders fear for their own safety and Hindu leaders do not want to annoy their community. Muslims are left to face both the police and the communal sanghis on their own. This is a very dangerous situation which could lead to a civil warlike situation if sections of the minority community are pushed to abandoning faith in the Constitution.
There is now not an iota of doubt that the Chingraoti incident was planned to trigger horrific rioting which was averted only by the fact that a courageous police officer sacrificed his life in the line of duty. On the December 3, a huge congregation of over 20 lakh Muslims in the same district ended in the afternoon. Thousands of those attending this would have left for their homes by the road that passed the Chowki. Had they not been prevented by alert members of the administration, the kind of violence that would have occurred is unimaginable.
Many of the Muslims who left the Ijtima were helped to access other routes; many of them were given shelter in villages during the night by farmers of both communities. CPI(M) supporters, Kisan Sabha members and many sensible people worked day and night to maintain peace.
After the chowki was burnt, Inspector Subodh Singh was killed in the most brutal fashion. He was hit by a stone and fell to the ground. His driver lifted him into his jeep and tried to drive away but the goons attacked them and chased him away. They continued to stone Subodh Singh and then pumped bullets probably from his service revolver, into his body. On the videos that have been made of the incident, they can be heard saying ‘kill him, make sure he is dead’.
It seems very likely that Subodh Singh was targeted by the Hindutva goons. He had been the Inspector in charge at Dadri when Akhlaq was lynched to death and he had ensured that the killers were arrested. Later, he was transferred from there. In Siyana, he earned a reputation of being fair in his dealings and of refusing to succumb to the pressure of Bajrang Dal and sanghi activists.
Yogi Adityanath was most reluctant to even acknowledge the heroic role played by Subodh Singh. It was only the anger of the common people and of the police force that made him refer to him as a ‘martyr’ and send for his family members to offer them compensation.
After the 3rd of December, a deliberate campaign is being carried out propagating a lie that Subodh Singh killed a young boy in the crowd, Sumit, and then committed suicide. This is the level to which the Sangh Parivar can stoop.
The entire focus of the government and administration has been to shift public attention from this heinous murder and criminal attempt to engineer large-scale rioting to the issue of ‘cow slaughter’. Those who were arrested because of Yogesh Raj’s FIR have all been released after their call records were examined. Immediately after their release, five others have been arrested on December 25-26. No one is prepared to accept that they are guilty. Mehboob Ali is a well-known social worker of Siyana. His closest friend, Arvind Sharma, son of the district Brahman Samaj President, has also been arrested – on charges of cow slaughter. Nadeem, a national level shooter along with Kaale and Haroon has also been arrested. Except for Kaale, all of them are educated, well-to-do citizens who live in Siyana and have no criminal record.
Those accused of rioting and murder are the beneficiaries of police soft-pedaling. Conflicting reports are being regularly put out by the SIT that was formed by Yogi with the express purpose; it seems, of justice being thwarted. So far, it has accused three people of Subodh Singh’s murder. Yogesh Raj was taken into police custody after BJP leaders arranged his ‘surrender’. He was sent to jail without being questioned. Another accused, Shikhar Agarwal, is still at large.
Many young and old men from the villages of Chingraoti and Mavah have been arrested. Some of them are certainly innocent and many who played a leading role in the violence and incitement remain untouched.
The district committee of the CPI(M) and the District Bhaichara Forum have both demanded a judicial enquiry into the incidents of violence and arson and the planning and conspiracies behind them. In the district, the CPI(M) along with the Kisan Sabha, CITU and other organizations has been campaigning for the last one year against the growing threat of communal rioting and has been organizing “Bhaichara” (Fraternity) conventions in different parts of the district and in other districts of Western UP. Thousands have participated in these conventions.
On December 19, Kakori Martyrs Day, a huge convention was organized in Bulandhshahr town. People belonging to different political parties and organizations also participated. Many preparatory meetings had been held and more than a lakh of leaflets distributed. The deep roots that fraternal feelings have in the common people are the only guarantee that the country will be saved from the divisive agenda of the Hindutva forces. It is necessary to strengthen these roots and also to expose the communal forces.