Journalist, arrested en route Hathras, booked under anti-terror, sedition laws
A Kerala journalist and three others, who were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police on their way to Hathras, have been charged under the anti-terror and sedition law. They were detained from a toll plaza in Mathura and later arrested. Journalist Siddique Kappan was on his way to report on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras, said his employer.
Journalist, three others, booked under UAPA, IT Act
An FIR has been lodged against the four arrested persons at the Mant Police Station, according to The Hindu. Reportedly, they have been booked under Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code; Sections 14 and 17 of the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act; and Sections 65, 72, and 76 of the Information Technology Act, for promoting enmity between groups and outraging religious feelings.
Kappan is also journalist union's regional secretary
Kappan is a regular contributor to the Kerala-based website azhimukham.com. He is also the Secretary of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists' (KUWJ) Delhi unit. The others arrested are Atiq-ur-Rahman of Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed of Bahraich, and Alam. Atiq-ur-Rahman and Ahmed are office bearers of the Campus Front of India, the Popular Front of India's student wing, PFI confirmed to The Indian Express.
Kappan used to write for PFI mouthpiece: KUWJ former Secretary
Former KUWJ Secretary journalist Manikantan told TIE, "Kappan started writing for azhimukham.com this year. He has no affiliation with PFI. Earlier, he used to write for Thejas, which is a mouthpiece of PFI. It closed down in 2018."
Police procured literature 'which could impact peace'
The UP Police said they had stopped the vehicle in which the four were traveling and found their activities suspicious. Reports said the police procured literature "which could have an impact on peace, and law and order in the state." Quoting the FIR, NDTV and The Hindu reported that the police recovered pamphlets saying 'I am not India's daughter' and 'Justice for Hathras Victim'.
Police alleges 'big conspiracy' in Hathras case
Further, the FIR states that the four were moving toward Hathras to disrupt peace as part of a "big conspiracy." The police also pointed to their links to the PFI, which the UP government has sought to ban in the past. The UP Police—which has been criticized for its handling of the case—has alleged a conspiracy in the rape case to stir caste-based violence.
KUWJ, Press Club of India demand Kappan's release
The KUWJ's Delhi unit had earlier written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Kappan's detention. "We have filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court against the illegal detention of a journalist who was doing his job," the letter stated. The Press Club of India has also demanded that Kappan should be "released without delay."
What is the Hathras rape case?
The 19-year-old Dalit woman was attacked at her village in Hathras while she was cutting grass with her family. The upper caste assailants had allegedly dragged her by her dupatta into the fields and brutally gang-raped her. The victim sustained grave injuries leaving her with multiple fractures, paralysis, and a deep gash in her tongue. She died during treatment in Delhi on Tuesday.
Who are the accused?
The four accused in the case are Sandeep (20), his uncle Ravi (35), Ramu (27), and Luv Kush (19). Ramu is also related to Sandeep, while Luv is his friend. All four men belong to the upper caste Shikhawat Thakur community.