Lucknow, December 6: Bajrang Dal's Bulandshahr convenor Yogesh Raj, the main accused in the mob violence in the district who has been absconding since Monday, issued a video message on Wednesday claiming innocence, saying he was not present at the site. The right-wing group also asked him to surrender before police and said it believed he was innocent.
Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, who had initially probed the 2015 lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq, and a 20-year-old local man, Sumit Kumar, died of gunshot injuries on Monday as a rampaging mob protesting alleged illegal cow slaughter torched a police post in Bulandshahr and clashed with cops. Raj is among nearly 90 people booked for rioting and violence. The video, in which Raj chants 'Jai Shree Ram' and introduces himself as the Bulandshahr district convenor of the Bajrang Dal, has been played by several local news channels. Bulandshahr Mob Violence: UP DGP Calls Incident 'Big Conspiracy'; Politics Continues Over Killing of Subodh Singh.
He says in the video that in the alleged cow slaughter in Bulandshahr, which led to the violence, the police are portraying him as if he is a "history-sheeter". "There were two incidents that happened on that day," he said referring to the Monday incident. "The first incident was related to cow slaughter at Mahav village near Siyana. When I got information about that, I reached there with my supporters. The police also reached there and we went to the Siyana police station for filing our complaint (about cow slaughter)," he said. Raj said that while he and his supporters were still at the police station they got to know that villagers were pelting stones.
— 🇮🇳अभिषेक द्विवेदी🇮🇳 (@dwivedi344) December 5, 2018
"There had been firing as well and a youth and a policeman have sustained gunshot injuries," he said. The Bajrang Dal's Bulandshahr convenor also trashed allegations that the group was involved in the violence. "I was not present at the location of the second incident. I have nothing to do with it. I have full faith in God. I will be cleared of all accusations," Raj said. Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar had earlier told mediapersons that the police were on the lookout for Raj. "Yogesh is on the run. Yogesh Raj, a local functionary of the Bajrang Dal, is the culprit and we are trying to nab him," Kumar had said. Bulandshahr Mob Violence: Slain Cop Subodh Kumar Singh Supervised Probe in Akhlaq Lynching Case.
Bajrang Dal's western Uttar Pradesh region co-convenor Praveen Bhati claimed Raj had nothing to do with the violence. "He is our district convenor, we are with him and he is innocent. He will cooperate with the police and come out at the right time," he said. "Certainly he should surrender, but I should also make it clear that the probe should be conducted by a bigger agency for the truth to be revealed. In this FIR, the police themselves are the complainant and in such a situation how can they carry out a fair probe?" he asked.
Bhati demanded that a probe into the violence be conducted by the CBI and not a special investigation team (SIT). "I am not satisfied with this (SIT probe), I think the CBI should probe it. All over the country the Bajrang Dal's image is being maligned and we are being portrayed as a violent organisation..," he said. "At least the truth should come out that a district level worker of Bajrang Dal cannot do such things," he added. Bhati said connecting Singh's death with that fact that he was probing the Akhlaq lynching case would be incorrect.
He said he last spoke to Raj on the night of the incident and till then there was no complaint against him. "Truth should come out and Yogesh should be brought to book if he is found guilty," he said. Police are investigating the incident that led to two people dying of gunshot injuries on the basis of two FIRs -- one on cow slaughter and the other on violence.