A mob of around 400 people, including right-wing activists, violently rampaged through the Chingrawathi village after cow carcasses were found strewn in a jungle nearby. The protests had escalated after hooligans of rightwing group Bajrang Dal came to the area and blocked a road with a truck carrying the dead cows. They set fire to dozens of vehicles, hurled stones and also fired guns at police who retaliated with gunfire. The mob violence left inspector Singh and one more person dead.

Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was attacked by a mob when he and his team had gone to a village to tackle protests. He was first attacked with an axe that left him badly injured, he was then pelted with stones, finally shot with his own pistol, and then his attackers tried to burn his body, the Uttar Pradesh police have said.

Bulandshahr SSP Prabhakar Chaudhary confirmed these horrific sequence of events after the December 3 incident in Bulandshahr. “The inspector fired in self-defence from his pistol which led to the death of a protester named Sumit,” the SSP said. A man named Kalua who had initially attacked the inspector with the axe — an attack that made him bleed profusely from his head besides lose a thumb — is still on the run.

The axe was apparently used to strike down a tree to block the road, to which the inspector had objected. When a police team tried to take the inspector away from the spot to a hospital, they were waylaid in their jeep by a surcharged crowd in a field where the inspector was pelted with stones, when he opened fire that led to a protester, Sumit, being killed.

The police have determined that it was then that main accused Prashant Natt, along with five of his accomplices, overpowered inspector Singh. Natt snatched away his pistol and shot him dead at pointblank range, the police have claimed. The protesters also tried to burn his body in the police jeep but other policemen managed to take away his body before the crowd burned down the jeep.

“It (inspector’s killing) was a virtual lynching. They used an axe to brutally attack him and later shot him with his own pistol,” a senior UP police official said.

Police said six people, including Natt and Kalua, are directly involved in the lynching and killing of the inspector. Five of them have now been arrested.