Four men, including a journalist, who were arrested from Mathura on Monday night while they were on their way to Hathras, have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sedition, reports said on Wednesday, 7 October. The four people have also been sent to 14-day judicial custody, according to ANI.
According to The Hindu, Section 17 of the UAPA has been invoked, which pertains to punishment for raising funds for a terrorist act.
The police had indicated that the four of them have links with the Popular Front of India (PFI). As per the FIR filed against them, they were going to Hathras to ‘disrupt the peace as part of a larger conspiracy,’ news agency ANI reported.
The police had said that during interrogation, it came to light that the four had links with the PFI and its associate organisation Campus Front of India (CFI). The four were interrogated and taken into custody after the police intercepted a car at a toll plaza, acting on a tip-off.
Mobile phones, laptop and some literature had also been reportedly seized from them.
Who Are the Arrested Men?
The men have been identified as Atiq-ur Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed of Bahraich and Alam of Rampur. The journalist arrested with them is Siddique Kappan of Malappuram.
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) said that Kappan is a member and the secretary of the union. The body had filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Supreme Court seeking the release of the New Delhi-based journalist from Kerala. The petition asked the apex court to pass directions to produce the journalist before the court and release him from illegal detention, The News Minute reported.
“The ultimate test of democracy lies in the freedom of speech and expression. The media is the breath of democracy. Denial of access to journalists to the place of news seriously connected with the dignified life of citizens for reporting is a gross violation of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India of the media persons [sic],” the petition reportedly stated.
Earlier, the New Delhi unit of the union had also written to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urging his release, stating that Kappan was only doing his job as a reporter and was travelling to Hathras to cover the rape case, TNM further reported.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has referred to "recent incidents" and said "anarchist elements" are trying to trigger communal and caste violence in the state after the Hathras incident.
(With inputs from The Hindu, IANS and The News Minute.)