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Bulandshahr violence: absconding key accused releases video, claims innocence

Violence unleashed: Vehicles that were set on fire by a mob in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, on Monday. PTI  

Bajrang Dal activist Yogesh Raj, who is absconding after being named as the main accused in the mob violence in Bulandshahr, on Wednesday released a video in which he denies he had any role in the violence.

A police inspector and a civilian were shot dead in the violence that erupted on Monday over allegations of cow slaughter in a village in Syana area of Bulandshahr. Police have accused Raj of inciting riot in the western Uttar Pradesh district. More than 70 persons, including some with alleged links to groups affiliated to the RSS, have been booked on charges of mob violence.

While the authenticity of the video could not be independently verified, the account presented by Raj matches with the incident.

Raj, dressed in a pink shirt and now clean-shaven (the last time he was seen on camera arguing with a policeman identified as the now deceased Subodh Kumar near Chingravati outpost, he sported a beard and moustache), introduces himself as Yogesh Raj, district convenor of the Bajrang Dal.

“The police are presenting me in such a manner as though I have a big criminal record. I want to tell you all that two incidents took place that day,” he says in the short clip narrating his version of the violence.

The first incident, Raj refers in the video, is the alleged cow slaughter in the Mahav village near Syana. He had complained to the police following which a First Information Report (FIR) was filed in the Syana police station.

Raj has claimed he was at the police station when pelting of stones and the killing of the police officer and a youth occurred. “When our demands were fulfilled and a case was being registered at the Syana police station, why would the Bajrang Dal stage a demonstration” he asks in the video.

“I was not present at the site when the second incident took place. I have no involvement in it. God will provide me justice, I have full faith in that,” he said.

Hailed as a “local hero” who has taken up cow protection, Raj “officially joined” the Bajrang Dal only three years ago following which he was chosen to head its district unit.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:14:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bulandshahr-violence-absconding-key-accused-releases-video-claims-innocence/article25670771.ece

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