Hindu outfit Bajrang Dal’s district head for Bulandshahr is one of the 28 people named in the FIR registered by Uttar Pradesh Police for Monday’s mob violence in which an inspector and a youngster were killed after rumours of cow slaughter were spread.
Although police has made Yogesh Raj the number one accused for the riot and slapped charges of murder and attempt to murder on him under sections 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code respectively, it has not named Bajrang Dal in the FIR.
The local leader is named in the FIR with 27 others and there are 60 unnamed individuals. Two of the 28 named have been arrested and four have been detained, including Raj. The police is interrogating them.
Apart from Yogesh Raj, among those named in the FIR is BJP youth wing member Shikhar Agrawal and VHP member Upendra Raghav.
“We will arrest more people today and will gather more evidence. The SIT team that has been formed is looking closely into the matter,” said Prashant Kumar, ADG, Meerut Zone. Kumar said an SIT has also been formed to investigate why the police personnel left Subodh Kumar alone after he was shot.
While speaking to News18, police officers, on the condition of anonymity, had confirmed that most men in the mob belonged to right-wing groups such as the Bajrang Dal, Hindu Yuva Vahini and the Shiv Sena.
In a statement to police on Tuesday morning, Yogesh Raj said he was the one who witnessed the cow slaughter incident in the fields on Monday morning.
Raj, a resident of Newbans village of Siyana, told the police that he was roaming in the jungles of Mahaw along with some companions at 9 am on Monday when he saw six men of a minority community slaughtering cattle. After this, he said he called them out, but they escaped from the spot, he alleged.
He accepted that he along with others of the right-wing outfit was among the protesters, but denied it was to stoke violence. “We were there at the spot because we were the ones who informed police about the incident. Our motive was not to stoke any violence,” he told News18.
Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh had died along with a local after the mob ran riot over alleged cow slaughter on Monday afternoon. Singh was killed by a bullet in the head and had suffered wounds from hard and blunt objects, the post-mortem has revealed.
The bullet pierced the 47-year-old’s head near the left eyebrow, the report said. “The entry of the bullet is near the left eyebrow. As per post-mortem report it appears to be a .32 bore,” the ADG (law and order) Anand Kumar said.
Protesters from Mahaw village and nearby areas had pelted stones on police and indulged in arson, setting ablaze several vehicles and Chingarwathi Police Chowki, after some body parts of cows were found in a jungle near the village, prompting the police to open fire.
A video showing the body of a policeman slumped to ground from the seat of a police vehicle surrounded by some people came to light after the incident. But the police refused to confirm if it was Singh in the clip.
However, a senior police official requesting anonymity said, “In all likelihood, it appears to be Subodh Kumar.”
The violence had started around 10 am in Siana area in the district where a major three-day Islamic congregation had concluded on Monday afternoon. The police, however, said the incident was not related in any way to the congregation.
“The incident occurred 40-50 km away from the congregation site. Some miscreants were behind the violence and action is being taken against them in accordance with law,” the Bulandshahr Police tweeted on Monday evening.
Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said strict action would be taken against the guilty after the probe reports are received. He also said financial assistance would be extended to the affected persons.
The incident led to a political slugfest, with the Congress hitting out at the chief minister, saying he should first set his own house in order before “gallivanting” around the country for election campaign.