New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday accused the state unit of the Delhi-based Islamic group Popular Front of India (PFI) for the violence that broke out in state capital Lucknow on Thursday, as several anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests turned violent across the city.

Additionally, the police revealed that three members of the group, including its Uttar Pradesh president, had been arrested for instigating the violence, that left one protestor dead and led to large-scale destruction of public property in the city.

Addressing media on Monday evening, Lucknow SSP said that Kalanidhi Naithani said that PFI’s UP chief Waseem Ahmad, treasurer Nadeem Ali and divisional president Ashfaq had been arrested for and confessed to their role in instigating the violence. The three, the senior officer said, were the ‘masterminds’ behind the riots.

He also said that the three had distributed ‘objectionable’ material to people and gathered protesters, including those from nearby districts, for the December 19 violence. Based on their statements, the top cop added, many others too had been arrested.

“On their WhatsApp chats, we found that people were being instigated to indulge in violence in the name of anti-CAA protest,” the SSP further said.

Responding to the development, the PFI, in a statement, admitted that while those arrested were indeed its members, they were being falsely implicated over the violence.

Nearly two dozen protesters, including an eight-year-old child, have been killed during clashes with the Uttar Pradesh due to violence during anti-CAA protests. A day after the Lucknow violence, riots had broken out in several cities in the state, triggering a massive state-wide crackdown by the police.

There was violence on Saturday too, in Kanpur and Rampur, where one protester was killed in clashes with the police.