The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will question the four people including journalist Sidhique Kappan that Uttar Pradesh police had arrested while they were on their way to Hathras last week. Kappan, a Delhi based Malayali journalist was going to report on the alleged rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras when he was booked by the police and charged with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA and sedition.
On Monday, a habeas corpus plea by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) to produce Kappan before the Supreme Court was adjourned by four weeks. The UP police alleged that the four arrested were suspected to be members of the Popular Front of India (PFI).
Apart from Kappan, the others arrested are Atiq-ur Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed of Bahraich, and Alam of Rampur. The UP Police also seized their mobile phones, laptop and some literature.
An ED official requesting anonymity said that the financial probe agency has been investigating the role of the PFI for the last few years, including its involvement in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) stir last year and the northeast Delhi riots in February this year. The official said that the agency will soon record the statements of the four men after visiting Mathura jail, where they have been lodged. The official said that as they have also been booked by the UP Police under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they will inquire if there was any money laundering. The official remained tightlipped if the agency will file a fresh case under the PMLA against them. The official said that the agency will probe if the PFI provided funding or logistic support to those who indulged in hooliganism after the death of the 19-year-old Hathras Dalit woman.
The Dalit woman passed away on September 29 at a government hospital in Delhi, where she was admitted for treatment. There has been nationwide outrage following the alleged rape and murder of the woman and the unexplained hurried action of the police in burning her body against the parents’ wishes.
(With IANS input)
Watch: Kerala journalists protest arrest of Sidhique Kappan