Days after the arrest of Bengaluru district president of pro-Muslim outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) in connection with the murder of RSS leader R Rudresh, police have decided to invoke provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, in the case.
“The UAPA law is being invoked in the case of the murder of RSS worker Rudresh,” confirmed a senior police officer.
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UAPA provisions are generally invoked in cases of terrorism when there is evidence that a crime was carried out as part of a conspiracy to target national integrity. The UAPA gives police custody of suspects for 30 days and gives them 180 days to file the chargesheet instead of 90 days in other cases. The law is also very stringent when it comes to granting bail to the accused.
Earlier, Mysuru police had invoked UAPA provisions against one Abid Pasha, who had PFI links. Pasha was allegedly involved in six communal murders, including the killing of a Bajrang Dal activist in March.
R Rudresh, RSS secretary for Shivajinagar unit, was hacked to death in the heart of Bengaluru by two bike-borne men on October 16.
On October 27, Bengaluru police nabbed four locals, Mohammed Sadiq, 35, Mohammed Mujibulla, 44, Wasim Ahmed, 30, and Irfan Pasha, 30, on charges of carrying out the murder.
Following the interrogation of the four accused, PFI’s Bengalaru district president Asim Sheriff, 40, was arrested last week.
According to the police, the four accused nabbed earlier were paid to murder Rudresh and Sheriff had allegedly asked them to plan the attack. Police suspect Sheriff was acting on the direction of others, whose names are yet to emerge.
The opposition BJP in Karnataka has demanded a ban on PFI and sought an NIA probe into cases of murders of right-wing leaders. The invoking of UAPA in the murders of the RSS leader and the Bajrang Dal activists may pave the way for an NIA probe into them.
Meanwhile, BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has alleged that the conspiracy to murder Rudresh was hatched by state Urban Development Minister Roshan Baig, who is also Shivajinagar MLA. “Minister Roshan Baig is directly involved,” Karandlaje alleged on Friday, claiming that she had received the information from investigators.
In response, Baig has threatened to sue Karandlaje. “People in Shivajinagar know my politics. BJP and RSS workers in the area are my friends. Ms Shobha who is from Mangaluru doesn’t know about Shivajinagar. She is doing this for publicity,” he said.
Police sources said there is no evidence on hand to link the MLA to the RSS worker’s killing.