Karnataka Police have invoked sections of the draconian UAPA against 10 people arrested in connection with the February 20 murder of a Bajrang Dal worker in Shivamogga.
“There is suspicion of a larger conspiracy behind the murder,” a senior state police official told Indian Express.
Harsha Hindu, 27-year-old Hindutva activist who had a criminal background, was hacked to death by a group of men with whom he allegedly had a feud since 2016.
All the arrestees are Muslims. They include Mohammed Kashif, Sayed Nadeem, Afsifullah Khan, Rehan Sharef, Nihan and Abdul Afnan.
BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, who is known for his hate speeches against Muslims, demanded UAPA against the killers of Harsha, days after the killing. He blamed Muslim groups over the murder.
Though sources said the murder could be an outcome of a clash between Harsha and one of his attackers on the premises of a court around six months ago, police in the BJP governing-state are looking into a larger conspiracy, especially considering that the crime took place in the midst of huge protests against the hijab ban.
Provisions of the draconian UAPA are generally invoked in cases where there is suspicion of a conspiracy to target national integrity.
Harsha was actively involved in organising support for the ban on hijab at some colleges in Shivamogga.