A Mathura court has rejected the bail plea of Atikur Rahman, national treasurer of Campus Front of India (CFI), Masud Khan, a student at Jamia Millia Islamia, and a cab driver Mohammad Alam, who were booked and arrested under draconian UAPA along with Malayalam journalist Siddique Kappan, while they were on their way to Hathras last month, Live Law reported on Saturday.
The four were illegally detained on 5 October while they were travelling to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras who was gangraped and murdured by upper-caste Hindu men. A day later, they were booked under sections of UAPA and sedition.
The bail applications of Rahman, Masood and Alam were moved to Sessions court after their bail pleas were rejected in the lower court of Mathura.
As per a report of The Indian Express, defence counsel Madhuban Dutt Dwivedi said: “In the bail applications, we told court that no crime could be made out against these three youths. Also, so far, police have failed to collect any evidence against them. We also questioned the state government’s decision of ordering UP Police’s Special Task Force (STF) to investigate the case. We also told the court that there has been a violation of Section 6 of The National Investigation Agency Act, 2008. A case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be investigated by NIA and till a decision is not taken by the government, the SHO of the police station concerned (where FIR has been lodged) should investigate the case.”
The court order state that the bail pleas are liable to be rejected due to the embargo created under Section 43-D (5) of UAPA that the court could not grant bail.
According to the LiveLaw report, Mathura court observed that if the accused is facing prosecution under penal provision falling under Chapter IV and/or Chapter VI of the UAPA, the court has to determine on the basis of the materials in the case diary and/or charge sheet, as to whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the said accused are prima facie true.
Many rights groups, community organisations and activists eariler condemned the arrests of Muslim youths and said the efforts of the Uttar Pradesh government appear to be to destroy evidence, scuttle the case and protect the perpetrators, dominant caste men of the Thakur community. They also said the targeting of Muslim activists and journalists is a wanton effort to deflect blame, colour the case and shield the real perpetrators.