Contradictions appear in the two statements given by Bajrang Dal's Bulandshahr unit convenor Yogesh Raj over the cow slaughter incident on Monday which spiralled into a mob violence that claimed two lives, including that of a police inspector.
Two first information reports were registered by the police at Siyana police station in Bulandshahr -- one over cow slaughter and the other on the mob violence in which a village man was also killed.
The first one was lodged at 1 pm on December 3, the day violence broke out, on a complaint by Raj in which he claimed cow slaughter near Mahav village and accused seven persons from nearby Naya Bans village.
The second FIR, in which police itself became a complainant, was lodged at 2.30 am on December 4 for rioting and violence and names Raj along with 26 men including those from right-wing groups besides 50 to 60 unidentified people.
"Around 9 am on Monday we, Yogesh Raj, Shikhar Kumar, Saurabh etc, had come to the jungles of Mahav village while roaming. There we saw Sudaif Chuadhary, Ilyas, Sharafat, Anas, Sajid, Parvez, Sarfuddin (residents of Naya Bans village) etc slaughtering cows and ran away after we raised an alarm over it.
"When alerted, police from Siyana police station and the additional district magistrate of Siyana reached the spot. The people mentioned above had brutally slaughtered the cows which has hurt our Hindu religious sentiments," states the first FIR, on a compliant by Raj.
Almost 50 hours after the violence broke out and several accused including Raj went absconding a purported video with his statement surfaced on social media on Wednesday.
In the purported video, Raj, who starts off with a 'Jai Shri Ram' salutation and introduces himself as the Bajrang Dal's Bulandshahr unit convenor, says the police are portraying him as if he is a 'history-sheeter'.
"There were two incidents that happened on that day," he said referring to the Monday incident.
"The first incident was related to cow slaughter at Mahav village near Siyana. When I got information about that, I reached there with my supporters.
"The police also reached there and we went to the Siyana police station for filing our complaint (about cow slaughter)," he said.
Raj said that while he and his supporters were still at the police station on December 3 they got to know that villagers were pelting stones.
"There had been firing as well and a youth and a policeman have sustained gunshot injuries," he claimed.
However, relatives of Raj Kumar Chaudhary, on whose 'fields' in Mahav village the caracasses were found strewn on December 3 morning, claimed the dead animals were discovered by a villager only who alerted Chaudhary about it around 7 am.
Chaudhary, a former head of Mahav village, had alerted the local police which had reached the spot and the matter had come to an 'amicable compromise' around 8.30 am, his wife Preeti claimed.
"Nobody knows who informed these people from the (Bajrang) Dal that they reached the spot. They only insisted on taking the carcasses to the police station when everything was already settled," she told PTI.
Chaudhary has been named in the second FIR on violence and rioting and he along with others from Mahav village were also absconding 'fearing police action', she said.
Meanwhile, four of the seven names in the first FIR on cow slaughter have been disputed after it turned out that two of them were minors aged 11 and 12, one name was non-existent in the village and one person, Sarfuddin, was claimed to be at the Ijjatema (Muslim congregation) in Bulandshahr city, 35 km away from the site, when the entire episode unfolded.
Superintendent of Police, Bulandshahr City, Pravin Ranjan Singh Wednesday said that in the last nine months, action has been taken against nine people under the National Security Act and against 44 under the UP Gangsters Act over cases related to cow slaughter.
"Because of such actions there has been a strict control on cow slaughter in the district," he said.
"In Chingrawathi police post there has been no complaint of cow slaughter in the last one year," the SP said about the police post, under Siyana police station, which had come under the mob attack on December 3.
Another wanted man surfaces in video
A day after Yogesh Raj appeared in a video claiming innocence in the Bulandshahr mob violence, another man wanted by police has surfaced in a similar manner.
In the video, local BJP leader Shikhar Agarwal, who is also named in the FIR, is heard blaming slain police inspector for the violence.
The video surfaced as chief minister Yogi Adityanath met with Singh's family in Lucknow.
On Wednesday, Yogesh Raj issued a video message claiming innocence.
Raj said he was no present at the site of the violence.
The Bajrang Dal's western Uttar Pradesh unit had backed his claim of innocence, but also asked him to surrender before the police.
In the latest video, Agarwal, who is BJP's Syana unit youth wing president, claimed it was the inspector who created tension by stopping him and others from taking some carcasses to the Chingrawathi police post for filing an FIR over the alleged cow slaughter.
In the latest video, Agarwal is heard claiming that Singh threatened to kill him and his aides.
Agarwal said he later told Additional Director General of Police Avinash Chandra Maurya about the 'threat'.
The BJP leader also accused Singh of being 'corrupt' and 'siding with the Muslim community' to perpetuate cow slaughter.
Both Agarwal and Yogesh are among the 27 people named in the FIR registered by police after the violence.