The Uttar Pradesh police detained four men — including a Delhi-based journalist working with Malayalam news outlets — from a toll plaza in Mathura Monday. The police claimed the men were part of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and Campus Front of India (CFI), and were on their way to Hathras.
On Monday, an FIR was registered in Mathura against members of the CFI under CrPC Section 151. Under this section, “a police officer knowing of a design to commit any cognizable offence may arrest, without orders from a magistrate and without a warrant, the person so designing”.
The police said the four men were on their way to Hathras, where a 19-year-old Dalit woman was murdered and allegedly gangraped by four upper-caste men last month.
The journalist has been identified as Siddique Kappan, secretary of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) who writes for popular Malayalam news websites such as azimukham.com. He is currently in preventive custody of the Mathura police.
“During a checking at Maant Toll Plaza on Monday morning, we found the movement of a Swift Dzire car suspicious. We questioned the four persons and they were taken into preventive arrest under Section 151 of the CrPC. It appears they were heading towards Hathras. While no FIR has been filed against them, during questioning they said they are related to PFI and CFI”, Gaurav Grover, SSP Mathura, told The Indian Express.
The Mathura Police claimed they had seized material from laptops, phones as well as literature related to protests which could have “impacted” law and order in the area.
Accused Siddique hails from Kerala, while others have been identified as Ateek, Masud and Alam, from Muzaffarnagar, Bahraich and Rampur respectively.
Meanwhile, the Delhi unit of KUWJ has written a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about Kappan being detained.
“He is the secretary of KUWJ… And had gone to Hathras Monday morning to cover the present situation in the area… We understand that he was taken into police custody by UP police from Hathras toll plaza. Our efforts and the efforts by some advocates based in Delhi to contact him were not successful,” read the statement by the Union, signed by KUWJ President Miji Hose.
As per the statement, Hathras police has not provided any information regarding Kappan’s whereabouts. “Kappan was trying to do his duty as a reporter. We urge you to get him released at the earliest,” says the statement.
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