Uttar Pradesh police have arrested 19 people in connection with the killing of a policeman in Ghazipur district when protesters hurled stones at vehicles returning from the venue of a public meeting addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI reported quoting a senior police official on Sunday.
Director General of Police (DGP) O P Singh, in a tweet, clarified that the deceased policeman, Suresh Pratap Singh Vats, was a head constable.
Vats (48) was hit on the head by a stone when he went to end a traffic jam caused by the protests.
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"The death of head constable Suresh Pratap Singh Vats in Ghazipur in stone pelting is extremely tragic. So far 19 accused in 3 cases have been arrested, which include 11 in the case of murder. Strict action will be taken against those involved in violence under stringent sections of law (sic)," the DGP said in a tweet.
According to Superintendent of Police (Ghazipur) Yashveer Singh, the protesters were workers from the Rashtriya Nishad Party who were prevented by the administration and the police from going to the rally venue.
"When the prime minister had left Ghazipur, the party workers blocked traffic at various places and started pelting stones on the vehicles returning from the programme venue," he told PTI on Saturday.
Former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday accused Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of following 'thoko neeti' (encounter policy) to avoid transfers, which has led to confusion in the police force.
"The Chief Minister keeps harping about 'thok do' (encounter policy). Sometimes the police donot know whom to beat up."
"The encounter policy has led the police officers to believe that they could be transferred if they don't organise 'encounters,' forcing their subordinates to follow this attitude," he alleged.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced a compensation of Rs 40 lakh for the wife of Vats and Rs 10 lakh for his parents, the state has government said.
Adityanath also directed the district magistrate and the superintendent of police to take strict action against unruly elements and arrest them immediately.
The death comes less than a month after the killing of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh in Bulandshahr district. He was shot dead during a mob violence over alleged cow slaughter. The man who allegedly shot the Bulandshahr inspector was arrested last week.
Modi had addressed a public meeting after laying the foundation stone for a medical college and releasing a postal stamp on Maharaj Suheldev. He had left for Varanasi when the violence in Ghazipur took place.
Watch: Police arrest 19 people in connection with mob violence
(With inputs from agencies)