Mainpuri -- Even before Uttar Pradesh could recover from the shock of the Dadri lynching incident, rumours of cow slaughter sparked violence in Mainpuri leading to a riot-like situation. A mob almost killed four men they suspected of killing a cow, set police jeeps and shops on fire and had to be dispersed with tear gas shells.
Twenty-one people have been arrested following the incident and circle officer has been suspended for alleged laxity. Seven policemen were injured and of the four men the mob attacked, two are in a critical condition.
"Violence was sparked my rumours floated with an intention to stoke communal tension," a government official said today.
However, the post-mortem conducted on the remains of the cow revealed that it had died due to an ailment.
It was alleged that a cow, which was grazing in a field near the village, was whisked away for slaughter and its skin was being removed in a house when some villagers barged in. Some men started the rumour and then ganged up with others to attack the four people seen with the cow.
District Magistrate Chandrapal Singh said, "A rumour was spread here that a cow has been slaughtered. But when we did a post-mortem of the cow yesterday, it came to the fore that the cow had been dead for sometime. The people who usually remove bodies of animals had taken away the cow and were removing its skin. That is how the rumour started about the cow being slaughtered."
Police reached the spot and arrested those removing the skin of the dead cow, the District Magistrate said.
"Those who were taking out the skin were arrested as well as those who incited the violence on the streets. Twenty-one people, including two who were removing skin of the dead cow, have been arrested," he said.
Singh said that an FIR has been lodged against 29 named persons and 250 unidentified people for violence.