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Bulandshahr violence key accused Yogesh Raj was 'in constant touch' with Bajrang Dal and 'wanted to surrender'

Bulandshahar: The Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday said they had arrested one of the key accused in the Bulandshahr violence case, Bajrang Dal district convenor Yogesh Raj, on Wednesday night. While the Bulandshahr Police claimed to have arrested Raj around 11.30 pm on Wednesday after conducting a raid following a tip off, a top Bajrang Dal leader said he wanted to surrender before the police.

Moreover, the right-wing group's Uttar Pradesh convenor, Balraj Doonger, also said Raj had been in constant touch with members of the Bajrang Dal and the top brass of the group, who had helped him escape the clutches of the police.

The police claimed that Raj was arrested from a tea point near Brahmanand College after the Station House Officer of BB Nagar, Subhash Singh, received a tip that he was going to travel to Bulandshahr from Khurja, around 15 kilometres from the district headquarters. Singh then headed to the spot with a team and arrested the accused.

 Bulandshahr violence key accused Yogesh Raj was in constant touch with Bajrang Dal and wanted to surrender

Bulandshahr violence accused Yogesh Raj arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police. Image Courtesy: Mohammad Nadeem/101Reporters

On 3 December, police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and civilian Sumit Kumar were killed in the mob violence that broke out in Bulandshahr's Mahaw village in the Siyana area after cattle carcasses were found strewn outside a village. An FIR was registered against Raj, along with 27 other named accused and 50 to 60 unnamed accused, at the Siyana Police Station on 4 December.

Raj has been charged with murder, rioting, armed with a deadly weapon, sedition and assaulting a public servant to deter him from discharging his duty under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The Bajrang Dal, however, maintains that he was innocent.

"From the very first day, I have been saying that Raj is a member of the Bajrang Dal, and we will try our best to get justice for him. He has been framed wrongly by the police, and if he had surrendered earlier, then Prashant Natt, the man who actually murdered Inspector Subodh Singh, would have never been arrested," Doonger said.

Talking about Raj's whereabouts since the violence on 3 December, Doonger said he had gone into hiding. The senior Bajrang Dal leader said Raj had spent most of his time in Haridwar and the remaining at different places, including Poorvanchal in East Uttar Pradesh, "hiding from the police".

While Doonger refused to comment when asked about who had been accompanying Raj all this while, he claimed Raj had returned to Bulandshahr with the intention to surrender, but the police arrested him before he could.

"Earlier, we were of the view that Raj should surrender, but then we decided that the real culprit would never be caught if he had surrendered then. We asked him to surrender many times in the past, but he was adamant about staying away from the police. Later, we understood this point, when the police changed the name of the main accused for the third time. They had earlier named Raj, then Jeetu Fauji, and then Prashant Natt. The Bajarang Dal will always stand by Raj and get him acquitted from court," Doonger added.

On 27 December, the Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Prashant Natt, who had allegedly shot the inspector dead after he was attacked with an axe by another. They arrested five others on 18 December for their alleged roles in the mob violence and the cow slaughter case.

The author is a Lucknow-based freelance writer and member of 101Reporters.com

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Updated Date: Jan 03, 2019 15:43:36 IST