Four days after sedition and UAPA charges were invoked against a journalist, two members of Campus Front of India (CFI), and a driver who were on way to Hathras to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit victim, the CFI on Friday stated in Delhi that their two members were “delegated by us to go express solidarity with the victim’s family”.
Addressing the media, CFI national general secretary Rauf Sharif said, “It is a student organisation’s moral duty to express solidarity with families of victims.”
On Monday, journalist Siddique Kappan (41), CFI members Atiq-ur-Rahman (25) and Masood Ahmed (26), and driver Alam (26) were detained from a toll plaza in Mathura by UP Police while on way to Hathras.
Sharif claimed that Rahman and Kappan were “earlier questioned by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in relation to anti-CAA protests”. He said, “The two CFI members and the journalist are friends.”
Kappan’s lawyer Anas Indori told The Indian Express, “The case is baseless. In fact, one of the persons arrested is a driver from Delhi’s Trilokpuri, who was merely taking them to Hathras. Siddique is a journalist and perhaps is in touch with social activists, who decided to accompany them, as they were going in the same direction.”
The CFI is linked to the radical outfit Popular Front of India (PFI).
At the press event, Sharif said the police’s claim that pamphlets were found with the four are false. “The police say they had a booklet, a printed notice that said ‘Justice to Hathras’, a laptop… Is carrying a mobile and a laptop a crime? There were no pamphlets — stories are being concocted.”
Rahman is national treasurer of CFI, and comes from Nagla, Muzaffarnagar. He completed his graduation in Library Sciences from Meerut’s Chaudhary Charan Singh University, and was planning to pursue PhD in the same discipline, CFI president M S Sajid said. During college, he came in contact with PFI and was elected national treasurer for CFI’s 2019-20 council.
“He never told us what exactly he did for PFI because most of his work was outside Muzaffarnagar,” his elder brother Mateen, 32, said. “Since the lockdown, he has been home. On Sunday, he had gone to AIIMS (Delhi) to collect medicines for a heart ailment he was diagnosed with more than 15 years ago.”
Rahman’s wife and two children, aged four and five, live in the village.
His brother said, “He had never mentioned anything about a journalist. He just called from a policeman’s phone saying he was being detained.”
Rahman is currently unemployed and his brother, Mateen, provides for his family by working on 70 beegha farm owned by the family.
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