Almost two weeks after arresting four Muslim men on charges of cow slaughter that allegedly triggered mob violence in Bulandshahr, the Uttar Pradesh Police Tuesday said the four men are “innocent” and that they will move court soon for their release.
Sarfuddin, Sajid, Asif and Nanhe were arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by district Bajrang Dal convenor Yogesh Raj, who claimed seven persons, including the two of the four men given a clean chit, had slaughtered cows. Yogesh is currently on the run and is wanted for the killing of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a local Sumit Kumar in violent protests against the alleged cow slaughter on December 3.
The decision to declare the four men innocent was made after the special investigation team (SIT) probing the incident arrested three other men Tuesday on charges of cow slaughter.
Bulandshahr SSP Prabhakar Chaudhary told The Indian Express: “Prima facie, we found all four persons arrested earlier are innocent and after verifying other details we will move the court for their release.”
According to Chaudhary, the police have arrested Kaala, Nadeem and Raees, all in their 30s, and had gathered “scientific and other evidence” against them and recovered a licensed gun from Nadeem. The police also claimed to have seized a vehicle allegedly used for transporting beef as well as knives used for cow slaughter from the three men. Kaala was arrested two years ago in a cow slaughter case and is currently out on bail, said Chaudhary.
On December 3, after the remains of slaughtered animals were allegedly found near Siyana village, Bajrang Dal convenor, Yogesh Raj had named seven Muslims and alleged that he had witnessed them slaughtering cows near a village close. Two among those named in his complaint were later found to be minors by police.
Police Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, the SHO of the Siyana police station and a local youth, Sumit Kumar, were shot dead later that day after a mob went on the rampage demanding action against the alleged cow slaughter.
While Yogesh is still absconding, the police have so far arrested 18 people in connection with the killings. After the violence, the state government had transferred Bulandshahr SSP Krishna Bahadur Singh, then Assistant Superintendent of Police, Rural, Raees Akhtar, Additional Superintend of Police, City, Pravin Ranjan Singh, Circle Officer (Siyana) Satya Prakash Sharma and Chingravathi police outpost in-charge sub-inspector Suresh Kumar.