Sandeep Rai| TNN | 


BULANDSHAHR: Two days after 60-year-old Ghulam Ahmed was beaten to death by a group of 5-6 youths in a Bulandshahr village for “helping” an inter-faith couple elope, police have now confirmed that the three men who have been arrested so far in connection with the crime are members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, an organisation formed and led by UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

On Thursday, Vahini leaders, who had been repeatedly denying their organization’s involvement in the crime, also admitted that the men arrested are “very much party activists”. This came after banners and pictures appeared of the men posing alongside other leaders of the right-wing organization.

In one of the banners, Honey Raghav, also known as ‘Honey Singh‘, who is an accused in the murder of Ahmed and is now jail, is depicted as “city president” of the Vahini. The outfit’s leaders in the region, nevertheless, maintained that the three men arrested for the brutal crime “have been framed”.

Police also released a statement that said: “In the sequence of events, on May 2, 2017, at around 11 am, Gavinder Singh, reached Sohi village along with 5-6 Hindu Yuva Vahini activists and while trying to find relatives (of the man who had eloped with a girl from a different community) reached the mango orchard where Ghulam Ahmed was working. They then with one mind beat the 60-year-old to death with lathis and rods.”

uperintendent of police (rural) Jagdish Sharma said, “All evidence including phone surveillance pointed towards the involvement of these men. But we still cannot conclusively indict the youths until we arrest Gavinder Singh.”

Ahmed was beaten to death by a group of men who thought he had “aided an inter-faith couple elope” and knew their whereabouts. Police had booked Gavinder Singh and four others on the basis of an FIR filed by the deceased’s son.

On Wednesday, police arrested three of the accused – Pulkit Sharma, Lalit Singh and ‘Honey Singh’ Raghav — but Vahini leaders kept denying the group’s involvement in the lynching and district president Sunil Raghav said the men were not associated with the organisation.

However, when on Thursday the pictures and banners surfaced, Nagender Tomar, president of Meerut division of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, told TOI, “Sunil Raghav was tense because of the ongoing mudslinging campaign. He may have denied the link. These three youths are very much party activists but they have been framed. I am on my way to meet Yogiji and clarify everything in Lucknow.”