New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh police on Tuesday charged a Kerala-based journalist and three others arrested in Mathura on Monday, over alleged links to the Popular Front of India (PFI) with sedition. Also Read - Another Day, Another Crime in UP: Minor Girl Raped, Killed & Set Ablaze; 2 Accused Held
The First Information Report filed in the case says the men were operating the website called “carrd.co,” which sourced funding in a non-transparent manner to incite riots. Also Read - Ballia Firing: UP Police Takes Custody of BJP Leader Dhirendra Singh
The four men were arrested on Monday night while they were on way from Delhi to Hathras to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman whose alleged gang-rape and subsequent death has sparked outrage and protests across the country. Also Read - UP Court Orders Woman to Pay Rs 1,000 Per Month to Husband as Maintenance Allowance
According to the police, the accused – Atiq-ur Rehman, Siddique Kappan, Masood Ahmed and Alam – were stopped at a toll after they received information that some “suspicious people were on their way to Hathras from Delhi”.
Their mobile phones, a laptop and some literature, “which could have an impact on peace, and law and order in the state”, have been seized, a statement said.
The men, during questioning, revealed they had links with the PFI and its associate organisation Campus Front of India (CFI), the police claimed. The FIR said a pamphlet titled “I am not India’s daughter” was recovered from the arrested men.
Siddique Kappan, a journalist, had “gone to Hathras on Monday to cover the present situation in the area,” the Kerala Union of Working Journalists said in a statement. He is also the secretary of the journalists’ body’s Delhi unit.
In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the journalists’ body urged for his release “at the earliest”.
“We understand that he was taken into police custody by Uttar Pradesh police from Hathras toll plaza. Our efforts and the efforts by some advocates based in Delhi to contact him were not successful. The Hathras Police Station and the State Police department have not provided any information so far on taking him into custody,” the letter read.
Kappan has been reportedly linked to the PFI earlier, but he had sent a legal notice to the people making the allegations.