New Delhi, October 7:
Four people including a Delhi-based journalist working for Malayalam news portals, were arrested, by Uttar Pradesh Police on charges of carrying some objectionable literature, when they were on their way to Hathras on Monday.
The arrests came hours after the State police, under fire for their handling of the Hathras rape and murder case, had claimed that there was a conspiracy to defame the state government and trigger caste riots over the Hathras incident. The four were identified as Ateeq-ur-Rehman, Siddiqui Kappan, Masood Ahmed and Alam. Kappan is stated to be a journalist working for Malayalam media houses and had reportedly gone to Hathras to cover the case.
They were taken into custody at a toll plaza in Mathura when they were travelling in a car from Delhi to Hathras. The car was stopped after police found their activities “suspicious”, following which they were taken into custody. The Mathura police said “suspicious literature, one that could have an adverse impact on peace,” was recovered from the four. However, police are yet to reveal the content or state the laws the literature violated.
The police said that Masood Ahmed from Bahraich in UP, was a student of Jamia Millia Islamia University and that, if required, economic intelligence agencies would be roped into probe the “foreign funding” angle. His messages, linkages and data obtained from him would be probed..In their statement, police claimed that the four in custody were linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its related group Campus Front of India. In last December, the PFI was blamed by the U.P. government for vandalism in Lucknow and other parts of the State during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), in a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has demanded the release of Kappan, saying he was trying to perform his duty as a reporter. The KUWJ has also moved a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Uttar Pradesh Police to produce its secretary and journalist Kappan before the court and release him from illegal detention.