Union minister Uma Bharti called the violence, which left two people dead, “both worrying and serious.”
“The administration should have been alert to the fact that a huge crowd had gathered there for “Ijtema” and they should have found out from where the carcasses of cows, which were found dumped outside the village, came from,” she said in Madhya Pradesh, referring to the Tablighi Ijtema, a three-day Islamic congregation that concluded on Monday.
Reports of alleged cow slaughter from Mahaw village, near Bulandshahr, on Sunday night had triggered the violent clashes a day later.
“The state government should look into all the aspects of this case,” she tweeted later.
Bulandshahr member of parliament (MP) Bhola Singh also said it was a matter of concern why a large number of alleged cow slaughter incidents were reported at a time when the Tablighi Ijtema was on. He also alleged that the organisers of the congregation kept officials in the dark about the number of people in attendance.
“They informed officials that two lakh people will join the ijtema but people say over 20 lakh people attended it,” the MP said.
He added that overcrowding kept officials and security people on their toes, giving troublemakers the opportunity to slaughter cows at Mahaw village.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared to distance itself from the remarks.
“In Bulandshahr our government has taken quick steps. We can’t talk on individual comments. The bigger picture is that the guilty, irrespective of who they are, would be dealt with as per law,” said Uttar Pradesh BJP general secretary Vijay Pathak.
The ijtema began on Sunday and drew visitors from across the country. Police have already clarified that the venue for the congregation was 40km from the epicentre of the violence and that routes were diverted to allow the crowd to move peacefully.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati blamed the BJP for the violence, saying it was the result of the government’s wrong policies. “Violence in a district so close to Delhi was proof of BJP’s ‘jungle raj’ (lawlessness) in UP. The fact that now law keepers are also falling prey to this lawlessness is most worrying,” she said.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal also blamed chief minister Yogi Adityanath for campaigning in poll-bound states instead of looking after the situation in his state. “Instead of taking care of his state, Yogi is going to Telangana and spewing venom,” he told news agency ANI.