A 38-year-old cattle trader was lynched and a 65-year-old man severely injured by a mob allegedly on suspicion of cow slaughter in Hapur’s Bajhera Khurd village of Uttar Pradesh, 50km from Delhi-UP border, on Monday, reports said.
The incident took place when chief minister Yogi Adityanath was holding a meeting with BJP MPs and MLAs in Ghaziabad and the police were on high alert.
The village is barely 10km from Dadri’s Bisada where 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq was lynched in 2015 on suspicion of consuming cow meat.
Eyewitnesses said the men — Qasim, 38, and Shamiuddin, 65— were spotted by villagers of Madhpura Mustafabad and a mob soon gathered. “Shamiuddin had gone to Madhpura to get fodder for cattle. Qasim met him there. It is possible that my brother was attacked because he was spotted with Qasim, a cattle trader,” Mohammad Yaseen, Shamiuddin’s brother, told HT at Dev Nandini Hospital in Hapur.
“They beat them and dragged them for nearly a kilometre to a temple complex. The duo was further assaulted after a rumour circulated among villagers that the men were trying to slaughter cows,” Yaseen said.
Ekadashi Giri, a priest of the temple in Bajhera, said, “One of the men was lying near the temple complex, while the other was further dragged and dumped near the main gate of the temple.”
“The mob was armed with sticks. They were screaming at the two men and accusing them of having tethered cows in order to slaughter them,” Shahid, of Madhpura, said.
“The police handed me one cow and a calf. They took away the animals on Tuesday,” Sudheer Rana, a local, said.
Police said they rescued the men from near the temple and rushed them to the hospital. Qasim succumbed to injuries.
“My brother bought cattle and sold them in markets of Asoda and Gulaothi. Around 2.30pm, we got a call informing us about the incident,” Qasim’s brother, said.
Police denied that the men were attacked over cow slaughter rumours. They claimed the attack was a fallout of a road rage incident. According to the FIR filed by Yaseen, the motorcycle Qasim and Shamiuddin were riding on collided with the bike of a youth from Bajhera. The accident led to an altercation and a mob attacked Qasim and Shamiuddin. The FIR was filed at Pilkhuwa police station.
“There were rumours of cow slaughter, but we did not find any cow or weapon used for slaughtering animals with the two victims,” Sankalp Sharma, superintendent of police, Hapur, said.