Four days after a mob murdered a SHO in Bulandshahr following protests over allegations of cows being killed, Uttar Pradesh police have shifted the focus of their investigation from nabbing the accused in the policeman’s death to solving the case of alleged cow slaughter.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Additional Superintendent of Police (Bulandshahr) Rayees Akhtar said: “Our main concern at this moment is to find out who killed those cows. After all, it was the killing of the cows that led to the protest, which resulted in Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh’s murder. Our belief is that once we solve that case, it will throw light on how the murder occurred. The cow-killers are our top priority. The murder and rioting case is on the backburner for now.”
So far, police have arrested four persons — Chaman, Devendra, Ashish Chauhan and Satish — for their alleged involvement in Singh’s murder. But they are yet to nab the main accused, Yogeshraj Singh, a Bajrang Dal activist who is on the run.
Police have also arrested four persons in the cow-slaughter case — Sarfuddin, Sajid, Asif and Nanhe — under sections of the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1955.
Asked about the cow-slaughter probe, Akhtar said: “While we cannot name specific groups, it is clear that most of the accused (in Singh’s killing) were active in cow-protection activities. There appears to be a pattern but we can only confirm once the arrests are made. At this point of time, the cow carcasses are the main issue.”
Meanwhile, a day after Yogeshraj posted a video on social media claiming his innocence, another video of Accused No.9 in the FIR on Singh’s killing — Shikhar Agarwal — surfaced in which he alleged that the slain SHO had threatened him.
Agarwal, a resident of Siyana, claimed in the video: “I was told of a commotion in Mahwa and when we reached there, I saw that cows had been slaughtered. We put the carcasses in the tractor and went towards Chingravati Police Station where we were stopped by Subodh Kumar Singh. He asked us to bury the carcass there and threatened to shoot us. I informed Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Siyana, Avinash Chandra Maurya, about the conversation who assured that an FIR will be filed.”
Agarwal claimed that the SHO was to blame for the violence. “It was only because Subodh Kumar Singh refused to file an FIR that things got out of hand and a riot-like situation was created.”
Questioning Singh’s integrity, Shikhar Agarwal said: “Everyone in Siyana knows… I have full faith in the Yogi Adityanath government… If I am guilty I will be hanged, if not I will go free.”
SDM Maurya was not available for comment despite repeated attempts by The Indian Express. Asked about Agarwal’s claims, Bulandshahr SP (City) Pravin Ranjan Singh said: “An accused will say whatever he has to say in his defence. It does not matter. Subodh was an honest officer.”