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UAPA Invoked Against 10 Arrested in the Murder Case of Bajrang Dal Worker Harsha

A senior state police official said, “There is suspicion of a larger conspiracy behind the murder."

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Karnataka Police have invoked sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against the 10 people arrested in connection with the murder of 26-year-old Bajrang Dal worker Harsha, which had led to violent protests in the state.

A senior state police official said, “There is suspicion of a larger conspiracy behind the murder,” The Indian Express reported.

Provisions of the UAPA are generally invoked in cases where there is suspicion of a conspiracy to target national integrity. There is also a possibility of the case being transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Harsha was stabbed to death by a group of men with whom he allegedly had a feud since 2016. Out of the 10 people arrested, 30-year-old Mohammed Kashif, was in prison with Harsha in 2017. Other accused also have criminal cases against them.

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As per sources quoted by The Indian Express, the murder could be an outcome of a six-month-old clash between Harsha and one of his attackers on the premises of a court.

However, police are looking into a larger conspiracy, considering that Harsha was a part of the protests calling for a ban on hijab held on 7 February outside a college in Shivamogga.

This comes despite the Karnataka government earlier ruling out any link to the hijab row. Later, after mounting pressure from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and right-wing groups, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had stated that "Organisations behind the hijab row are also under the scanner, their role is also being looked at."

Meanwhile, a senior police officer was quoted as saying, “The accused are local criminals and there are serious doubts that they could have planned and executed the murder on their own,” The Indian Express reported.

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, who had earlier visited the kin of the deceased, had stated, "Growing Islamic fundamentalism in Karnataka has taken him a victim. This is Kerala model of terror that organisations like PFI, SDPI, CFI exported to Karnataka and other parts of the country."

"I've requested the CM and Shivamogga SP to not only register FIR u/s 302 IPC as murder but also register cases under UAPA and consider these as acts of terror," he was earlier quoted as saying by ANI.

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Topics:  KARNATAKA   Bajrang Dal   Hijab 

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