Three weeks after a policeman and a local were killed in mob violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr over allegations of cow slaughter, the state police on Thursday said they had arrested the key suspect who allegedly shot the cop on December 3.
The suspect, identified as Prashant Natt, works as a cab driver in Delhi. He allegedly killed inspector Subodh Kumar Singh with his own service revolver during protests in Bulandshahr. The police had earlier named Bajrang Dal activist Yogesh Raj — who is still on the run — as the prime suspect in Singh’s murder. Sources said Natt was not named in the FIR registered after the incident.
"During interrogation, he has confessed to his involvement in the violence and also admitted that he had shot the bullet which killed the inspector," said Atul Kumar Srivastava, additional superintendent of police (ASP), Bulandhshahr city.
"We are interrogating him further to elicit other details and expect other information to emerge during the probe. Based on that information, we will move ahead with the probe in the case," the ASP said.
According to the police, Natt and other protesters cornered the inspector and attacked him with stones, leading him to fire in self-defence. The bullet, however, hit local resident Sumit who was killed. Natt then reportedly took the inspector’s revolver and shot him in the head.
A police official said Natt, a resident of Chingrawathi village of Siyana, was held from Sikandrabad, near the highway that leads to Noida, around 2.30 pm. "With this arrest, the total arrested in the violence case of December 3 has gone up to 29 now," he said.
Trouble in Bulandshahr started when carcasses of cows were found dumped in a forest area outside Mahaw village. "Activists of right-wing organisations soon gathered at the spot and alleged that people of a community were indulging in cow slaughter," ADG (Law and Order) said.
Angry villagers and members of various Hindu groups brought the animal remains in a tractor-trolley to the Chingarwathi Police Chowki and demanded action against the culprits. They raised slogans against the police administration and blocked the Bulandshahr-Garh State Highway.
Bulandshahr District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha, Sub-divisional Magistrate Avinash Kumar Maurya and other senior officials tried to reason with the protesters but they refused to budge. The protesters soon turned violent, pelting stones on policemen and indulging in arson.