In a video statement released on Wednesday, Bajrang Dal leader Yogesh Raj denied any role in the Bulandshahr violence. On Monday, a police officer and a 20-year-old man were killed in mob violence sparked following the discovery of cow carcasses in a field in Mahaw village in Uttar Pradesh.
Raj is the main accused in the case related to the violence. He is also the complainant in another case on the alleged cow slaughter.
In his complaint, the Bajrang Dal leader claimed that he saw seven people from the Muslim community slaughtering cows, while out with friends on a walk in the forests near Mahaw village. Contradicting this, in his video statement on Wednesday, Raj claimed he went to the spot after he received information. The video statement was first reported by The Times of India.
The police have filed two first information reports, one related to the alleged cow slaughter and the second related to the violence.
“The police [have] depicted me as if I have a major criminal history,” Raj said in the video. “Two incidents took place that day [Monday]. The first was cow slaughter in Mahaw village. I reached the spot after I came to know of the incident.”
Raj said that he heard of the violence that had erupted in Bulandshahr while he was at the police station to register an FIR against the cattle slaughter. “I have nothing to do with the second incident [of mob violence],” he added. “I have faith in God to grant me justice in this case.”
Meanwhile, the Bajrang Dal asked Raj to surrender before the police, and said it believed he was innocent, PTI reported. The Hindutva organisation’s Western Uttar Pradesh co-convener Praveen Bhati admitted that the group brought the cow carcasses to the police station. But he added: “What happened here [violence at the Chingrawathi police post]... Yogesh Raj has got nothing to do with it. He is our district convener, we are with him and he is innocent. He will cooperate with the police and come out at the right time.”
Bhati also claimed that Sumit, the 20-year-old youth killed in the violence, and Subodh Kumar Singh, the deceased police officer, were shot with guns of the same bore.
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh claimed earlier on Wednesday that there was a “big conspiracy” behind the incident. His statement came a day after Chief Minister Adityanath asked top administrative and law enforcement officials to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged cow slaughter. He also sought strict action against the guilty.