Lucknow: A police inspector was killed along with a civilian when a crowd irate over rumours of cow slaughter clashed with cops in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr on Monday. While the police official was apparently killed by a brickbat hurled by the crowd, a youth in the mob was killed by a police bullet fired to disperse the crowd. 

The incident took place in Mahao village in Syana area of Bulandshahr, some 100km from Delhi, when a cow carcass was allegedly found in a thicket. The news travelled fast in the area and the situation worsened. A large crowd staged a blockade of the Bulandshahr-Dhar highway, carrying the cow carcass. The police tried to intervene, which led to hostilities.

Anand Kumar, ADG (law and order), said that the state government has set up a multi-member SIT to probe the various angles that might be involved in the incident and called for the submission of the intelligence report. The official said the inspector was killed as a result of stone-pelting, though the real cause of death could only be ascertained after a post-mortem. Initial reports, however, suggested that the police officer was killed by a gunshot fired from the mob. Kumar, however, accepted that shots had been fired by the mob from locally-made muskets. 

According to sources, the mob made the police force more anxious given that it could have triggered a clash with Muslims, who had gathered in the city in lakhs in the past few days. According to one estimate, 15 lakh Muslims had gathered in Bulandshahr, owing to 'Ijtema' (religious conference). This anxiety led to some haste in handling the crowd which might have led to the situation getting out of control. 

The mob grew irate by the minute and torched a police picket near the highway. The deceased inspector is identified as Subodh Kumar Singh.