Shikhar Agarwal, youth wing leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and absconding key accused in Bulandshahr violence, was arrested on Thursday late night, nearly after 40 days, police confirmed.
Agarwal was nabbed by the Bulandshahr police at 7.20 am near a flyover in adjoining Hapur district, a senior official told media.
"We are interrogating him, and gathering information to proceed further in the case. He will be produced in the local court later today," Additional Superintendent of Police (Bulandhshahr city) Atul Kumar Srivastava told PTI.
With Shikhar’s arrest, the number of accused held in connection with the mob violence that had claimed two lives has reached 36. Meanwhile, seven people have been arrested in the alleged cow slaughter case, registered on the same day.
Agarwal had earlier made a video from an undisclosed location in which he had claimed that he’s innocent, and had also accused the slain inspector Subodh Kumar Singh of being "corrupt" and "siding with the Muslims to get our mother (referring to cows) attacked".
Praising Yogi Adityanath government, he had also claimed in the video that he has full faith in the Yogi government, and he was ready for any probe. He further alleged that the inspector was reluctant to get an FIR filed for the cow slaughter, and had instead threatened to shoot Agarwal for insisting on taking the carcasses to the police station.
On December 3, 2018, mob violence had broken out in Siyana tehsil of Bulandshahr after cattle carcasses were found strewn in the fields outside Mahaw village.
Police Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, and civilian Sumit Kumar, were shot dead during the violence. An FIR was registered at the Siyana police station, in which around 80 people were accused.
Twenty-seven people, including Bajrang Dal convenor Yogesh Raj, were named in the FIR, while 50 to 60 unidentified people were booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc), 307 (attempt to murder), 302 (murder), 124A (sedition), 147, 148, 149 (related to rioting), 332, 33, 353 (related to voluntary assault on public servant to obstruct them from performing their duty), and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others).
On January 3, the police had arrested Raj, also a key suspect in the case. A separate FIR was lodged by the police for cow slaughter following a complaint by Raj. Among the 36 people arrested for violence are Army jawan Jeetender Malik, Prashant Natt, who allegedly shot the inspector dead, and Kalua who had first attacked him with an axe, the police said.
Cow Slaughter Case
Waseem, the younger brother of Nadeem, who was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the cow slaughter, told Newsclick, "Total seven people have been arrested in the connection with the cow slaughter. Nadeem, Mahboob, Haroon, Rayees, Kala, Yunus and Azhar. These all people have been booked on the basis of the complaint by Jeetendra who is a native of Naya Gaon, and in his complaint, he had not mentioned all these seven people’s names. Yet, the police arrested them. I have proof and all the documents. Four Muslims who were arrested on the basis of a FIR lodged by the Yogesh Raj, have been given a clean chit by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), and had nothing to do with cow slaughter. Same in our case, police do not have enough evidence against my brother, but we are being harassed. Next hearing of the case is on January 15.”
Rayess is a rickshaw-puller, have six children and he is the sole breadwinner of the family. It is difficult for him to reach the district court for every hearing.
Waseem added, "Coming 16 January will be mark one month of my brother’s arrest. But the police have not yet submitted the case diary before the district court. My brother is innocent and I am worried due his deteriorating health condition.”
Delay in Arresting
Making an allegation against the Yogi government for favouring the accused, ex-IG (UP police) S. R. Darapuri said that due to the political affiliation of these accused in the violence case, there has been a delay in the arrest. When Yogesh had filed the complaint where he had mentioned that he saw those seven people slaughtering cow, police had rushed to arrest without verification. Within weeks, they were found innocent by the police, Now, the police have arrested seven others without any evidence. In previous case, Yogesh Raj was termed an "eyewitness", which turned out to be false. In the new case, police have cited circumstantial evidence.
Read more: Bulandshahr Violence: Who’s Accountable for 16 Days of Trauma we Faced, ask ‘Framed’ Muslim Boys