Eight with ‘PFI links’ arrested in UP for anti-CAA violence
Uttar Pradesh police says it arrested eight people linked to the controversial Popular Front of India (PFI) on Friday on suspicion of their involvement in the violence during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in the last two months that have resulted in 24 deaths in the state so far.
Of the eight, three were arrested in Lucknow and five in Kanpur.
Shakilurahman (40), Shabi Khan (35) and Md Arshad (36) were arrested in Lucknow for alleged involvement in the violence during an anti-CAA protest on December 19 in the capital. The police said the arrested men had been absconding since a case was filed against them.
Deputy commissioner of police (North) Sarvashresth Tripathi said, “During the interrogation, they revealed that they work for the Popular Front of India (PFI). We are investigating their role in the violence.”
Another cop said the arrested men were involved with the publicity of the organisation and were present at the venue of the protests during the violence.
They have been booked for unlawful assembly, misbehaving with police, criminal conspiracy, theft and attempt to murder, he added.
This is second such arrest in the town, Mohd Asfaq and Nadeem, the treasurer and the state president of the PFI were arrested in December last year for “instigating violence during anti-CAA protest” in Lucknow.
As per the police probe, they used over 16 closed messaging groups and other social media platforms to invite people to the anti-CAA protest.
In Kanpur, a special investigation team (SIT) arrested five people for suspected links with PFI and involvement in December 19 anti-CAA violence in Kanpur.
The inspector general of police, Kanpur range, Mohit Agarwal said that the SIT (Special Investigation Team) arrested the accused on Friday morning after learning that they were headed at the chief minister’s event in Kanpur today to protest.
“On catching them and in follow-up investigation, the team found that they were involved in violence in anti-CAA protest in Kanpur and that they have links with the PFI,” said the IG.
The names of the arrested men are: Mohammad Umar, Syed Abdul Hai Hashmi, Faizan Mumtaz, Md Wasif and Sarwar Alam. All have been booked for vandalism, violence, rioting, attempt to murder etc.
PFI, a Kerala-based organization is under the lens for anti-national activities and is suspected to be a front for the banned radical organization, SIMI. A petition seeking a ban on PFI is before the home ministry for consideration.