Bulandshahr convenor of Bajrang Dal, Yogesh Raj, the main accused in the mob violence, had gone underground and issued a video claiming innocence.
Lucknow/Srinagar: Jitendra Malik alias Jeetu Fauji, an Army jawan suspected of killing inspector Subodh Kumar Singh during Bulandshahr violence, has been arrested by Uttar Pradesh police from Jammu and Kashmir and is being brought to his home state for questioning, officials said on Saturday.
Malik, who has claimed innocence, was taken into custody from a camp of the Army’s 22 Rashtriya Rifles in Sopore, about 50 km northwest of Jammu, they said.
The arrest coincided with Uttar Pradesh government transferring Bulandshahr senior superintendent of police (SSP) Krishna Bahadur Singh over delay in police action to contain the December 3 violence.
The police has named 27 accused, including Mr Malik, in the FIR over Inspector’s murder. Nine people, including some Bajrang Dal workers, have been arrested so for for a separate case filed on mob violence. Bulandshahr convenor of Bajrang Dal, Yogesh Raj, the main accused in the mob violence, had gone underground and issued a video claiming innocence.
On December 3, Singh and a 22-year-old student, Sumit Kumar, were killed in the violence apparently after cow carcasses were found strewn in a nearby jungle. A special investigation team’s (SIT) report suggested that both of them were shot dead with the same bore (.32) pistol.
Sources said the UP police is investigating whether Malik fired the shot that killed the police officer. In one of the mobile videos, apparently made by rioters, the slain police officer is seen with a man resembling Malik around the time he was killed.
Malik is believed to have told his unit that he along with 30 others had gone to the police station to lodge an FIR over the recovery of cow carcasses near their village but since violence broke out there he ran away, much before the inspector was shot dead.
The Army jawan’s family members have confirmed that he was in the village on the day of the violence and went back to Kashmir the same evening. His mother Ratan Kaur, however, said she could not identify her son in videos of the mob attack.
Meanwhile, chief minister Yogi Adityanath, on Saturday removed Bulandshahr SSP K.B. Singh, along with Syana Circle Officer Satya Prakash Sharma and Chingrawati chowki incharge Suresh Kumar, for dereliction of duty. Sitapur SSP Prabhakar Chaudhury took over as the new SSP of Bulandshahr.
Action against the officials was taken after an internal police report indicted Bulandshahr SSP for taking three hours to reach the spot of mob violence. He also failed to send additional forces to the spot.
Mr Singh also did not inform the home department in Lucknow about the presence of large number of Muslims for the three-day religious congregation in the district which concluded on the day of violence.
The Congress slammed Mr Adityanath for terming the killing of the police inspector in Bulandshahr mob violence an “accident”.
“There has been no incident of mob lynching in Uttar Pradesh. The Bulandshahr incident was an accident and the law is taking its course. No guilty will be spared,” Mr Adityanath said Friday at an event in the national capital.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi alleged that the Uttar Pradesh government was trying to influence the probe.
“The whole objective of this is to derail an independent, impartial investigation into the case,” he said.