Probe into PFI, CFI role in ‘bid to incite caste violence’ over Hathras begins
The Uttar Pradesh police are probing the alleged involvement of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its student wing, Campus Front of India (CFI), in an alleged conspiracy “to defame the state government and foment caste violence” in the backdrop of the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras, said senior police officials on Tuesday.
On Monday, four people were arrested in Mathura on suspicion of having links with PFI and CFI while they were on their way to Hathras from Delhi. They were later sent to 14-days in preventive detention after being booked under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) on Tuesday, police said.
Those arrested were identified as Masood Ahmed of Bahraich, Atiq-ur-Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, Alam of Rampur and Sidhique Kappan (a journalist) of Malappuram (Kerala).
“They were moving from Delhi to Hathras and one of them claimed to be a journalist. On finding material with them linking them to CFI, they were taken into preventive detention,” said senior superintendent of police (SSP), Mathura, Gaurav Grover.
“A laptop and some literature that is being studied for its contents were recovered from their possession,” police said.
The officials in Lucknow said the four accused have links with CFI while and one of them -- Masood Ahmed – also had links with some active members of PFI who were arrested on September 7 from Bahraich.
A senior police official, privy to the investigation, said PFI’s involvement had surfaced in “supporting and raising funds to create communal divide and incite violence” during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) violence in different districts of UP in December 2019. He said as many as 133 PFI members were arrested in 13 districts of the state for violent anti-CAA protests earlier this year in January and February.
The official said investigation into the Hathras case also hinted at PFI’s involvement in spreading hatred and putting up fake posts on social media. He said Masood Ahmad hails from Jalwar area of Bahraich district from where three active members of PFI -- Dr Aleem, Sahabe Alam and Qamarudeen -- were arrested earlier.
He further said Masood was suspected to be associated with the same group of PFI that was involved in putting up hate posts on social media after the Ram temple stone laying ceremony.
The UP police had filed 19 FIRs in seven districts on Saturday and Sunday in connection with allegations that some political groups and other organisations were trying to incite caste-related violence.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has moved the Supreme Court against the arrest of Sidhique Kappan and sought his immediate release from alleged illegal detention.
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