Journalist, Cabbie, Student Activists Detained on Way to Hathras

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The four men were arrested by the police on the Yamuna Highway near a toll plaza in Mathura. — Photo courtesy: Dainik Bhaskar

Ansar Indori, a human rights lawyer, said the detention of these four persons was illegal. He said that he had filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission over the detention of the journalist.

Zafar AafaqClarion India

NEW DELHI — The Uttar Pradesh police Monday detained four men, including a journalist, two members of the Campus Front of India (a student body) and a cab driver when they were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit girl who was allegedly gang-raped by four upper-caste men recently.

The four men were arrested by the police on the Yamuna Highway near a toll plaza in Mathura.

They have been identified as Atiq-ur Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, national treasurer of the Campus Front; Masood Ahmed of Bahraich, state general secretary of Campus Front in Delhi; Arman, a cab driver; and Siddique Kappan, a Delhi-based journalist who is also the general Secretary of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists of Delhi.

Kappan regularly contributes to news portal Azhimukham covering politics. “Yesterday (October 5), early in the morning, he sent a message that he was going to cover Hathras. That is the only information we got from him,” K N Ashok, editor, Azimukham, told the Hindu.

The police have reportedly seized their mobile phones and laptops. Sources said the police had filed a case invoking Section 151 of the IPC (Arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences).

Speaking with Clarion India, a human rights lawyer, Ansar Indori, said the detention of these four persons was illegal. He said that he had filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission over the detention of the journalist.

He said the police had not provided any information about the FIR so far but hoped that he would get the details by evening (Tuesday) when the four detainees would be produced before court.

The details of the complaint say Kappan was on his way to cover the Hathras issue when he was detained. “This is atrocity of a media person,” The complaint seeks interference of the Commission to “save the right of the media person.” Indori said that he had filed a complaint with DG UP Police, SP Mathura, as well.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists has appealed to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to release Kappan. They said he was trying to perform his duty as a reporter.

A relative of cab driver Arman said that they came to know that he had been detained in Mathura when he was ferrying passengers. “We do not understand why the police detained him,” said Arman’s brother-in-law. “He was simply doing his work.”

He said that they were worried about his safety and demanded that he be released immediately.

Meanwhile, media reports have linked the four detained persons with the Popular Front of India (PFI). Advocate Indori said that the Campus Front and PFI had no links. “It is an incorrect report in the media that Campus Front is associated with PFI,” he said.

Another lawyer, who is part of PFI, said that Campus Front was an independent students’ organisation.

The UP police Sunday filed an FIR against unknown people claiming that there was an “international conspiracy” in protests over the Hathras incident aimed at instigating ‘cast violence’ and maligning the image of the Yogi government.

The UP government had last year in December sought a ban on PFI after alleging that the organisation was responsible for fomenting violence during anti-CAA protests. However, the government failed to provide evidence to back the claim.

PFI condemned the arrest of the four people and said that this was an attempt to divert attention from the Hathras case.

Anis Ahmed, general secretary of PFI, termed the detention of the four people as “illegal” and demanded their immediate release.

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