New Delhi: An Indian Army jawan allegedly involved in the killing of a police inspector during mob violence in Bulandshahr has been arrested, a senior official of the UP Special Task Force said on Sunday.
“The Army handed over Jitendra Malik to UP STF team in Meerut yesterday late night,” IG STF Amitabh Yash told PTI.
Asked whether this will be considered as handing over by the Army or an arrest by the STF, Yash said, “Technically it will be considered as arrest. In the videos available he is present at the site of violence.”
Currently, he is in police custody in Meerut, the IG STF said. Malik has reportedly told the police that he was part of the mob, but did not have a role in the policeman’s killing. “He has accepted that he was there when the crowd started gathering. Prima facie, it has been found true. It’s not yet ascertained if he is the one who shot the inspector or the boy. He said he went there with villagers, but denied pelting stones on police,” SSP Abhishek Singh told ANI.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday that full cooperation will be extended in the investigation of the incident.
Bulandshahr police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed after a mob led by members of Hindutva groups went on a rampage, attacking the local police station and setting fire to several vehicles.
Jitendra Malik, also known as Jeetu Fauji, was in Bulandshahr, his hometown on a 15-day leave at the time of the violence. He was identified in several videos of the violence. According to NDTV, he is believed to have fled to Sopore on the same day that Singh was killed. Sumit, a member of the BJP’s youth wing, was also killed in the violence.
Police are still investigating whether Malik could have fired the shot that killed Singh. However, the police has said that the videos make it clear that he was instigating the crowds.
“You can clearly see him (Jitender Malik) fomenting trouble and instigating the crowd. We have an inkling that this armyman had a role in stone-throwing. Video and testimony are available to place Jitendra Malik at the spot. Why is an armyman instigating the crowd, why should he be raising these slogans?” Anand Kumar, the senior-most officer in UP police, in-charge of law and order told NDTV.
On Friday, The Wire had reported that the army was willing to cooperate with the investigation into the killing. “The police has contacted Northern Command and full cooperation is being extended. Details would be released by the police at the appropriate time after a positive identification. Since the matter is under investigation, no other comment can be offered,” said the army statement.
Inspector Singh was attacked by the mob when he went to the village to control the violence. A video shows a mob chasing the policemen and shouting, “Maaro, take his gun!” Singh was assaulted with a sharp weapon and then shot in the head.
Singh was the investigating officer of the Dadri lynching case from September 28, 2015 to November 9, 2015. However, the chargesheet had been filed by a different IO in March 2016.
Around eight people have been arrested in relation to the violence. While four have been arrested in connection with the police officer’s killing, the other four have been arrested due to alleged cow slaughter in the area. The main conspirator, Yogesh Raj, the district convener of the Bajrang Dal, is on the run.
Three police officers transferred
The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday transferred Bulandshahr SSP Krishna Bahadur Singh to the DGP office.
Principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar said that the senior superintendent of police will be replaced by Sitapur SP Prabhakar Chaudhary.
The government transferred two other policemen of Bulandshahr – circle officer Syana Satya Prakash Sharma and Chingravati police chowki in-charge Suresh Kumar.
Additional director general (ADG) Intelligence S.B. Shiradkar had on Friday submitted a report on the violence. The transfers are understood to be in line with the findings of the report on police handling of the situation. The report says that the the violence was part of a “larger conspiracy” that was intended to clash with a Muslim procession scheduled to pass through Bulandshahr-Garhmukteshwar State Highway on December 3.
It also says the cow carcasses found at the spot were more than 48-hours-old, suggesting that it was a pre-meditated attempt to instigate violence.
Another inquiry by a government-constituted SIT is underway, and the team is going into every minute detail and video footage of the incident, the officer said.
Also, a magisterial probe had been ordered by the government into the incidents.
With PTI inputs.