Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and leaders of Campus Front of India (CFI), a student wing of Popular Front of India who were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on Monday in Mathura while on their way to Hathras have been booked under provisions of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sedition.
All four were remanded to 14 days’ judicial custody by a local court in Mathura.
Their mobile phones, a laptop and some literature they carried, were seized, a police statement said.
Siddique Kappan, secretary of KUWJ Delhi unit and a senior Delhi-based journalist working for several Malayalam media houses including azhimukham.com, had gone to Hathras on Tuesday morning to report.
The three others arrested are Atikur Rahman, National Treasurer of CFI, Masood Ahmed, CFI Delhi General Secretary, and Alam who was the vehicle driver in which they were traveling to Hathras.
An FIR has been lodged against them in the Mant police station, charging them under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (for promoting enmity between groups) and 295A (outraging religious feelings) of the IPC, sections 14 and 17 of UAPA, sections 65, 72 and 76 of the Information Technology Act.
The FIR also mentions the website, justiceforhathrasvictim.carrd.co, which had information on how to protest safely and avoid the police. The police have stated that the website incites violence and threatens the law and order situation.
“The main intention of this website has been found to be to encourage communal hatred, cause unrest in the society and to spark riots on a large scale,” the FIR states, adding that the four have been arrested over “larger conspiracy”.
The Popular Front of India link has not been mentioned in the FIR while the four have been accused of running the website and that it has been created under the garb of ‘collecting funds’ to incite violence.