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Bulandshahr Mob Violence: 44 Accused, Including Yogesh Raj, Slapped With Sedition Charges

The charges were slapped on the basis of a report by the local police, after which the UPHome Department gave its approval, a senior official said.
Bulandshahr Mob Violence

Image Courtesy: India Today

New Delhi: Seven months after the Bulandshahr mob violence where police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a civilian were killed, the Uttar Pradesh government has granted sanction to invoke "sedition" charges under Section 124A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the 44 accused who are currently in prison. 

On the basis of a report by the local police, the Uttar Pradesh Home Department has given its approval for charging 44 persons under the sedition law. Arvind Kumar, state principal secretary, home and prison departments, while confirming this, said considering the report of Bulandshahr police, the government had given its approval.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police and a member of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Raghvendra Misra, told the media, “We have received the approval of the government to charge all the arrested accused under Section 124 A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code."

On December 3, 2018, the violence was triggered when a tractor-trolley loaded with cow carcass was spotted by the villagers parked in a field of Mahaw village near Chingravat police booth under Siyana police station area in Bulandshahr district. Singh was attacked while trying to quell mob violence on the streets after Right-wing people gathered to protest. The deceased inspector’s service revolver and cellphone were reported.

Nearly two months after the incident, on January 27, the UP police said it  had recovered Singh’s mobile along with five other cellphones reportedly from the home of the key accused Prashant Natt’s residence.

Subsequently, 27 people, including Bajrang Dal district convenor Yogesh Raj, were named in the FIR, while 50 to 60 unidentified people were booked under Sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc), 307 (attempt to murder), 302 (murder), 395 (dacoity),124 A (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) of Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

The key accused to be slapped with sedition charges include Yogesh Raj and BJP youth wing leader Shikhar Agarwal, both accused of instigating the mob and were absconding for a month. While Yogesh was arrested on January 3, Agarwal was nabbed from Hapur on January 10. 

Commenting on the recent developments in the case, Shrey, the elder son of late Subodh Kumar Singh, told Newsclick, "It took a long time, but good to see the development. I want the government to punish the accused as quickly as possible so that people will think thousand times before committing such heinous crimes. The police have done 50% of the work in the case and now it’s for the judiciary to announce the punishment. At least capital punishment should be announced or life imprisonment against all accused."

Former Inspector General (UP police) SR Darapuri told Newsclick, "The accused have already been booked under dozens of IPC sections. I do not know why they invoked sedition. It has become a fashion to use the National Security Act and sedition. Where there is substantial evidence against the accused, punish them according to the IPC."   

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