Yogesh Raj, absconding prime accused in Bulandshahr violence, claims innocence in undated video, says no link with cop's death

The Uttar Pradesh Police has yet to arrest local Bajrang Dal activist Yogesh Raj — the suspected conspirator behind Monday's mob violence in Bulandshahr. But the youth leader has managed to release a video statement, claiming innocence.

FP Staff December 05, 2018 16:03:42 IST
Yogesh Raj, absconding prime accused in Bulandshahr violence, claims innocence in undated video, says no link with cop's death

The Uttar Pradesh Police has yet to arrest local Bajrang Dal activist Yogesh Raj — the suspected conspirator behind Monday's mob violence in Bulandshahr. But the youth leader has managed to release a video statement, claiming innocence.

In the undated video doing rounds on social media on Wednesday, Yogesh claims that the death of the police inspector and civilian and the protests in Bulandshahr were different incidents that occurred at different locations, and that he had no connection with the death of Subodh Kumar Singh, Station House Officer of Siyana Police Station, in any way.

"Mujhe bhagwan pe pura bharosa hai ki mera naam saaf nikal ke aayega, (I have full faith in god that my name will be in the clear)," Yogesh is heard saying in the video.

Yogesh is among at least 80 others booked for inciting violence and resorting to vandalism in Bulandshahr on Monday allegedly over cow slaughter. They were named in an FIR lodged by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

So far, the police has arrested at least four suspects in connection with the violence and murders. On Tuesday, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anand Kumar identified those arrested as Chaman, Devendra, Ashish Chouhan and Satish — all named in the FIR — and said that prime suspect Yogesh was still absconding.

"Those arrested have been found to be leading the crowd after being identified in a video. About 40 to 50 others who have been unidentified were involved in the incident, and the police is confident of identifying them with the video evidence," he said.

The Uttar Pradesh government has formed a Special Investigation Team to look into the violence in Bulandshahr and the circumstances that led to the clashes and also to identify the perpetrators and groups involved. The state government said it was also focusing on uncovering a possible "political conspiracy" behind leaving out animal carcasses in a state where the practice is banned and the slaughter of a cow remains a highly emotive issue.

Preliminary investigation by the police and first-hand accounts of eyewitnesses of the Bulandshahr tragedy point towards a planned attempt at spreading communal tension, reports have said. The violent clashes between the police and villagers of Mahaw ensued on Monday after an alleged case of illegal cow slaughter resulted in the death of the 47-year-old police inspector and a 21-year-old civilian.

Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh said the police is looking at all possible angles, paying special attention to the alleged cow slaughter. "We are also looking into the angle to check whether the timing is suspicious as it comes close to 6 December, which happens to be the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition," he said. "The incident is part of a larger conspiracy, and hence, all those directly or indirectly related to cow slaughter should be arrested in a time-bound manner."

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