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Journalist, 3 others arrested by UP police on their way to Hathras

Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI/BENGALURU—Siddique Kappan, journalist, and Secretary Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), Delhi chapter, has been detained by the Uttar Pradesh (U.P) police, along with three others, on their way to Hathras from Delhi on Monday.

Confirming the detention of the journalist, president of the KUWJ, K.P Reji told India Tomorrow, “We are in touch with the authorities in U.P including the DGP and seeking intervention from the Kerala government. We have also contacted the central government.”

Denying the allegation that Siddique is a member of the Popular Front of India (PFI), Reji said, “He is a journalist and member of our association and not PFI. We don’t know who all were travelling with him.”

Siddique runs an online news portal www.azhimukham.com in Malyalam language.

The police said the four were taken into custody at Mathura’s Math toll plaza where the police were checking vehicles “after receiving a tip off that some suspicious people” were on their way to Hathras from Delhi. The four were in a car and identified themselves as Atiq-ur Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, Siddique Kappan of Malappuram, Masood Ahmed of Bahraich and Alam of Rampur, the police said, adding their mobile phones, laptop and some literature, which could have an impact on peace and order, were seized.

The police further claimed that during interrogations, it came to light that they had links with the PFI and its associate organisation Campus Front of India (CFI).

The PFI has been accused of funding certain protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that took place across the country earlier this year. The UP police had earlier sought a ban on the organization.

Hathras has been in news after a 19-year-old dalit woman was allegedly raped on September 14 in a village in the district and she succumbed to her injuries a fortnight later at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. Her hurried cremation in the dead of the night, allegedly without the parents’ consent, created further outrage.

PFI denies allegations

The PFI has denied the allegations that the detained persons are PFI members. In a video statement released today, PFI general secretary Anis Ahmed said that other than the journalist, the two arrested are members of a student organization, Campus Front of India (CFI). He further questioned the intentions behind the detention of the journalist and members of CFI, “In Yogi government is it a crime to meet the victims of such a crime?”, he asked. He also condemned the Yogi government’ attempts to link PFI to the crime and said, “It is a deplorable attempt to cover up, divert, and burry the issue.”

Yogi blames “organisations” to stoke caste, communal conflict to destabilise UP Govt

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has accused a “host of organisations” of using foreign funding to trigger caste clashes and communal violence in the state with a view to destabilizing his government. His comments are being interpreted to be directed at Opposition groups that have strongly criticized the UP and demanded resignation of Yogi Adityanath.

Police have registered an ‘open’ FIR at the Chandpa Police Station under Hathras district and booked several unnamed persons, including a journalist and a politician for sedition, criminal conspiracy and attempt to instigate riots by spreading misinformation on Hathras incident.

AIMMM condemns the arrest

Condemning the attempt by “Yogi government to make the rape and murder of a Dalit woman a Hindu-Muslim issue”, AIMMM President Navaid Hamid said, “the arrest of a Muslim journalist from Kerala is a clear indication of what UP government has in mind”.

Bhim Army chief booked for violating prohibitory orders

Three others FIRs were also lodged in Hathras, booking 680 persons, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, on charges of violating Section 144 promulgated in the area. Bhim Army chief is among several activists and politicians, including Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, AAP leader Sanjay Singh and Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary, who visited the family members of the Dalit victim in Bhoolgarhi village of Hathras district. Police had earlier prevented every one including media and political leaders from visiting the village and meeting the family members of the victim.

Rahul Gandhi had said that he was lathicharged and pushed to the ground by the police when he made first attempt to march to Hathras on October 1. Delhi Mahila Congress president Amrita Dhawan had alleged that her clothes were torn by police when during scuffle with police when she wanted to march to Hathras with Rahul and Priyanka on October 1.

The Hathras police are reported to have filed 19 other FIRs on Monday. As many as 13 FIRs are related to social media posts with an intention to disturb  peace.

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