LUCKNOW: Yogesh Raj, a Bajrang Dal leader and the main suspect in the Bulandshahr mob violence incident that killed two, claimed innocence in a video clip that surfaced on Wednesday.
In the video, the absconding right-wing activist identified himself at Yogesh Raj. He alleges hearing about a "cow slaughter" at Mahaw village and reaching there with supporters, as reported by PTI.
He went on to claim that they were still at the police station when reports of villagers pelting stones came in.
"...We later went to the Siana police station to register our case. This is where we heard that the villagers were pelting stones and that there was firing in which a youth and a policeman received gunshot wounds...I was not present at the time of this second incident," says Raj.
“I have nothing to do with it. I have full faith in God. I will be cleared of all accusations," he added.
A mob of around 400 people, including right-wing activists, clashed with the police on December 3 in Siana area of Bulandshahr district, after allegedly discovering cow carcasses thrown in a nearby jungle. Angry mob set fire to dozens of vehicles, stone pelted and fired at police who then retaliated with gunfire. Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, the station house officer of Siana who once investigated Akhlaq lynching case, and 20-year-old Sumit Kumar were killed in the incident.
Earlier that day, lakhs of people had collected for a 'Tabligi Ijtema', a congregation of Muslims, about 40 km from Mahaw village where the cattle carcasses were found.
Following the massive political and public outrage over the incident, the police arrested four people a day later. However, the main suspect – Bajrang Dal Bulandshahr convenor Yogesh Raj – is still absconding. Nearly 90 people have been named in an FIR filed in the case.
The western Uttar Pradesh unit of Bajrang Dal has claimed that Raj was not involved in the violence, but said he should surrender. The outfit also suggested transferring the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation from the state police.
Meanwhile, top Uttar Pradesh cops suggested a conspiracy behind the violence.
“The incident in Bulandshahr is a big conspiracy. This is not only a law and order issue, how did the cattle carcass reach there? Who brought it, why and under what circumstances?” questioned UP Director General of Police O P Singh, as reported by ANI.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is scheduled to meet the slain inspector's family on Thursday, officials said in Lucknow.
Bajrang Dal's western Uttar Pradesh region co-convenor Praveen Bhati claimed Yogesh Raj had nothing to do with the violence.
"He will cooperate with the police and come out at the right time.
"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,” he said.
With agency inputs