One of the four people against whom UP police have invoked Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sedition charges is a cab driver who was on duty in Greater Noida till Monday morning before being arrested in Mathura hours later.
Alam (30), a resident of Delhi’s Sunder Nagri was arrested on Monday along with journalist Siddique Kappan and Campus Front of India (CFI) office bearers Atiqur Rahman and Masood.
Police have stated in the FIR that the four had connections with the Popular Front of India (PFI) and were allegedly “collecting funds” for creating large-scale “unrest” in the wake of Hathras gangrape incident.
The Indian Express accessed Alam’s driver profile registered with cab aggregator Ola. As per records, Alam had completed a booking in Greater Noida’s Knowledge Park 3 at 7.25 am on Monday after logging in at 6.01 am. The records further showed that he was on duty between October 1 and October 5, on which day he was arrested. Except on October 2, Alam clocked in more than 5 hours average of duty in the five days before he was arrested. On Monday, he had logged out of the system at 8.10 am, records show.
An Ola spokesperson confirmed to The Indian Express that Alam was attached to the platform but said the ride to Hathras was not booked through its app.
“The four accused were arrested while they were on their way to Hathras. They have not given us much information. We are trying to ascertain how the four accused know each other. Every other aspect is also a matter of investigation and further light can only be thrown once facts have been gathered,” said SSP Mathura Dr Gaurav Grover, when asked about Alam.
Alam hails from Rampur and had shifted to Delhi more than 10 years ago. While in Rampur, he worked as an embroidery craftsman in a local market. In the capital, he started working as a driver. His family members say he started driving a cab registered with Ola and owned by a relative, Anis, merely a week before he was arrested.
“His (Alam) only fault was to ferry them to Hathras. He did not know them previously. In fact, he was wearing his driver’s uniform when he was arrested. If I give a lift to a policeman, does that make one a policeman? Similarly if someone is guilty of something, he wouldn’t have known,” said Bushra (27), Alam’s wife.
According to Alam’s family, he would leave early in the morning to clock in extra hours for extra income. Before he was arrested, Alam had called Bushra, stating that he had reached Greater Noida; after that his phone remained unreachable. “He was not aware of the details of the Hathras incident. Why would he be on duty all day if he had to be involved in some conspiracy?” asked Bushra.
“We will move a bail application in the next two days. He is a driver and has done nothing. He was just ferrying them to Hathras. We will present his driver records. We will try our best to get Alam some relief from the court,” said Sheik Moulali Basha, Alam’s lawyer.