Yogesh says in the video that in the alleged cow slaughter in Bulandshahr, which led to the violence, the police are "portraying me as if I am a history-sheeter." (Photo: Youtube screengrab)
Lucknow: Yogesh Raj, the main accused in the Bulandshahr violence who has been absconding since Monday, issued a video message Wednesday claiming innocence, saying he was not present at the site.
The video, in which Yogesh chants 'Jai Shree Ram' and introduces himself as the Bulandshahr district convenor of the Bajrang Dal, has been played by several local news channels.
Yogesh says in the video that in the alleged cow slaughter in Bulandshahr, which led to the violence, the police are "portraying me as if I am a history-sheeter." "There were two incidents that happened on that day," he says 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 Siana police station for filing our complaint (about cow slaughter)," he says.
He says that when "we were still at the police station we got to know that villagers were pelting stones. There had been firing as well and a youth and a policeman have received gunshot injuries." He also trashed allegations that the Bajrang Dal was involved in the violence.
"When police were writing complaint as we had asked for, why would Bajrang Dal protest?" "I was not present at the location of the second incident. I have nothing to do with it. I have full faith in God. I will be cleared of all accusations," he said.
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Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar had earlier told media persons that the police were on the lookout for Yogesh Raj.
"Yogesh is on the run. Yogesh Raj, a local functionary of the Bajrang Dal, is the culprit and we are trying to nab him," Kumar had said. Bajrang Dal's national spokesperson Surendra Jain on Tuesday too had denied the involvement of its functionary in the killings and later went on to claim that the incident took place due to the anger of the people.
"This is the reaction of the entire Hindu community. It happened because of the failure of the government in preventing the slaughter of cows. The government may make laws but if these are not implemented, such incidents will continue to happen," he was quoted as saying in media reports.
Police are investigating the violence that led to Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and Sumit Kumar dying of gunshot injuries on the basis of two FIRs -- one on cow slaughter and the other on violence.