A court in Hathras has admitted an application of the UP Special Task Force (STF) to club two similar cases lodged against journalist Siddique Kappan and three others, who were arrested in October last year while they were on way to meet family members of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, whose alleged gangrape and murder the previous month had led to widespread outrage.
While one case was lodged against the four in Hathras, the other was lodged at Maat Police Station in Mathura. In both cases, provisions under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as well as IPC provisions relating to sedition and attempt to promote enmity between different groups were invoked. According to the police, the four were part of a larger conspiracy to instigate caste riots.
“The Investigating Officer in the Hathras case, STF Deputy SP Vinod Kumar Sirohi, moved an application before a court in Hathras on Thursday, praying to cancel judicial remand and warrant of Siddique Kappan and the three others. He also requested the court to merge the Hathras case with the case lodged at Maat Police Station. He said he was making the statement after consulting senior officers and on their direction,” defence counsel Madhuban Dutt Dwivedi said on Friday.
“The court later directed cancellation of judicial remand and warrant of the four persons. The court also directed authorities of the Mathura district jail [where the four are currently lodged] to mention their release in the record connected with Hathras,” Dwivedi said.
Government counsel, Hathras, Rambali confirmed the court’s directions.
Kappan, Atiq-Ur-Rahman, Masood Ahmed and Mohammad Alam were detained by Mathura Police at Maat toll plaza on October 5. According to the police, Atiq and Masood are members of Campus Front of India, the students’ wing of Popular Front of India. A day later, they were booked for allegedly being part of a larger conspiracy. They were booked under IPC sections 124-A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, etc) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), and provisions of the UAPA.
While probing a case lodged against unidentified persons at Chandpa Police Station on October 4, the Hathras Police found the alleged involvement of Kappan and the three others. The case relates to an alleged conspiracy to instigate caste riots and defame the government over the rape-murder case. The FIR in Hathras was lodged against the accused, under charges similar to those in the Mathura case.
The state government later handed over both the cases to the STF
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