A journalist and three other men – allegedly linked to the Popular Front of India or PFI – were detained by police in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura last night amid outrage over the alleged gang rape and torture of a 20-year-old woman from Hathras, who died in Delhi last week. The men were headed to Hathras from Delhi in a car when they were stopped and detained, the police said.
According to the cops, the four men – Atiq-ur Rehman, Siddique, Masood Ahmed and Alam – were stopped at a toll after they received information that some “suspicious people were on their way to Hathras from Delhi”. 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, the police said in an official statement.
One of the four men – Siddique – is a journalist; he was reportedly headed to Hathras for a story on the incident. The journalist, in the past, has been reportedly linked to the PFI but he had sent a legal notice to the people who made the allegations.
The Yogi Adityanath government blames the PFI for protests in the state against the citizen law – Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that began last year and wants it banned.
During questioning, the men revealed they had links with the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associate organisation Campus Front of India (CFI), the police claimed.
Last year, the UP government sought a ban on the PFI over its alleged links to the statewide protests against the citizenship law, which was called “anti-Muslim” by several opposition parties and critics.
Nineteen FIRs have been filed over the Hathras incident by the Uttar Pradesh police, facing criticism over the handling of the case. The police has alleged an attempt to disturb peace in the state and listed sedition, conspiracy and promoting religious hatred in the main FIR or First Information Report filed in the incident.
The death of the 20-year-old woman has sparked massive protests across the country; several opposition leaders have demanded Yogi Adityanath’s resignation.
On Sunday, the Chief Minister, apparently targeting the opposition parties that have been holding protests over the issue, tweeted: “Those who do not like development, they want to incite ethnic and communal riots.”