A Kerala based journalist and three others who were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police from Mathura’s Math toll plaza on Monday night, have been slapped with sedition charges. An FIR has been filed against the journalist under stringent anti-terrorism law in which the police have applied the Section 17 of the UAPA, that deals with raising funds for a terrorist act.The FIR said a pamphlet titled I am not India’s daughter was recovered from the arrested men.
The four men, Atiq-ur Rehman, Siddique Kappan, Masood Ahmed and Alam were on way to Hathras to meet the family of 19-year-old Dalit woman who was brutally assaulted by four upper caste men. They were arrested over their alleged links with Popular Front of India or PFI, an outfit the Uttar Pradesh government wants banned in the state.
Siddique Kappan is a journalist and also the secretary of the journalists’ body’s Delhi unit who had gone to Hathras on Monday to cover the present situation in the area.
The police said they had earlier received information that some suspicious people from Delhi were trying to barge into the village.
An official statement said that their mobile phones, a laptop and some literature, which could have an impact on peace, and law and order in the state, have been seized.Police also claimed that the men, during questioning, revealed they had links with the PFI and its associate organisation Campus Front of India (CFI).
The police handling of the Hathras case- the alleged negligence and the dead in night cremation of the victim, with the family locked up in their home, has drawn widespread public outcry and criticism from the opposition.
The 19-year-old woman died in Safdarjung hospital on September 29.