Updated: August 27, 2019 6:47:42 am
Two days after the seven men accused of sedition, attempt to murder and rioting during the Bulandshahr violence of December 2018 were given a hero’s welcome by supporters upon their release on bail, the seven have quietly began rehabilitation, even as the wife of Subodh Kumar Singh, the inspector killed in the violence, on Monday said she fears retaliation.
Singh’s wife Rajini said, “What is the point of assurances (by government) if those cannot be fulfilled? There needs to be a more thorough investigation. I am shocked that they (accused) are out (on bail) and were welcomed with garlands. Since they are out, they can very well target us (now).”
Shikhar Agarwal, from Siyana in Bulandshahr district who headed the district unit of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, BJP’s youth wing, before his arrest, has gone to Aligarh and is unlikely to return home soon, according to his mother, Hema.
She said: “He plans to continue specialisation in ayurveda. He was called an accused and we have suffered as a result. Like any other young man, he was politically active and felt that taking up the issue would give him visibility. But he only wanted to highlight the issue of cow slaughter; he had nothing to do with the murder.”
According to the chargesheet, Agarwal, along with main accused Yogesh Raj, who is still in jail, played a key role in gathering crowd for a protest against alleged cow slaughter, which later led to the violence.
Two others released on bail — Jeetendra Malik, alias Jeetu Fauji, and Rajkumar — come from nearby Mahav, and Malik, an Armyman arrested for alleged involvement in the rioting, is learnt to have returned to Meerut in his official capacity and is awaiting posting.
Claiming their innocence, a neighbour said, “The whole village is happy that they have been let out. He (Malik) is a quiet person and rarely visited home given his duty. He was on leave when the incident occurred. There should be a fair probe.”
Calling Agarwal a “crusader”, Balraj Dungar, regional coordinator of Bajrang Dal, said, “This is a victory for us, as people like Shikhar and Yogesh were carrying out a noble work of protecting cows.”
In main accused Yogesh Raj’s village, residents are awaiting his release on bail and said his contributions to religious causes is “invaluable”. Vipin, a villager, said, “Posters with his picture are put up on festivals. They were put up on Holi, Janmashtami and we will do it again on Diwali. For us, he is a social worker and was doing social work on the day of violence as well. We will hold a function once he returns.”
Bulandshahr police officials said they are trying to prevent bail for key accused Yogesh Raj and five others accused of murder. Meanwhile, Chingrawati police booth, where the violence occurred in December last year, has received a fresh coat of whitewash and sparkling clean tiles. The half-glass door has been repaired and a new table has been placed outside. Eight months ago, the police booth was burnt down by a group of people protesting against alleged cow slaughter, and Inspector Subodh Singh was killed.
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