Seven people accused in the Bulandshahr violence last year were released on bail on Saturday after a High Court order. The accused, Rajiv, Rohit, Raghav, Shikhar Agarwal, Jitendra Malik, Rajkumar and Sourav allegedly attempted murder, rioted and committed arson during the protests against cow slaughter on December 3 in Siyana, which led to the death of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh.
Agarwal, who headed the BJP’s local Yuva Morcha and posted a video along with Yogesh Raj, another accused, while in hiding, received a hero’s welcome outside the prison.
Videos of the accused being released emerged on social media which showed the crowd chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while welcoming Shikhar Agarwal and other accused with garlands and flowers. People in the video can also be seen hugging the accused as they leave the jail premises.
“We respect the judgment of the honorable High Court. As per procedure, the bail has been granted on certain conditions which includes that the accused will not, in any way, attempt to influence the investigation. If they are found violating any such condition, we will file for their bail cancellation. Five accused facing section 302 (for Subodh Kumar Singh’s murder) have not been granted bail yet,” said Raghvendra Kumar Mishra, who headed the Special Investigation Team constituted to look into the incident.
According to the police, the lawyers of the defendants argued that the accused did not have any prior criminal record and that they are not prone to commit a crime if they are granted bail.
On December 3, Bajrang Dal activist Yogesh Raj and several other accused protested outside Chingrawait police booth against an alleged incident of cow slaughter in Siyana. Siyana SHO Subodh Kumar Singh tried to control the crowd but riots broke out soon. During the violence, one of the accused shot Subodh Kumar Singh with his service revolver. One of the protesters, Sumit, was also shot dead by the police officer, allegedly in self-defence.
Accused Yogesh Raj and Shikhar Agarwal released videos alleging innocence and witch-hunt by the authorities, while they were absconding. Jitendra Malik, an Army jawan who was allegedly part of the rioting crowd, was also granted bail. A chargesheet against 38 accused was filed on March 2 in which five people were charged with the murder of the Inspector.
“The police have clubbed Sumit’s murder with the rioting and police officer’s murder in the same investigation. The police should investigate that (Sumit’s murder) separately,” said Sanjay Sharma, the lawyer representing Jitendra Malik and three others.