Uttar Pradesh Special Police Task Force on Saturday filed an indictment against the Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan and seven others, accusing them of insurgency and conspiracy to incite sectarian violence in Hathra district last year, Indian Express reported.
The indictment was filed in a court in Mathura. In addition to Kappan, he appointed members of the Popular Front of India Atiqur Rahman, Masood Ahmed, Rauf Sharif, Ansad Badruddin, Firoz Khan, Alam and Danish.
The court recognized the indictment, which is approximately 5,000 pages long, Special Forces official Vinod Sirohi told the newspaper. The documents contain details of our investigation and our findings against the persons arrested on the way to Hathras and others.
Kappan, a journalist for the Malayalam news portal Azhimukham, was arrested in October while on his way to cover what has become known as the Hathras case, in which a 19-year-old Dalit woman had died on September 14 after four upper-class men gangrated her. Uttar Pradesh police later booked him under the Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act and the insurgency charges.
Three other men who were in the car with him were also arrested for similar offenses.
Police claim Kappan was arrested because he was going to Hathras as part of a plot to establish law and order problems and incite caste riots. They say Kappan and others were part of the Popular Front of India, a hardline Muslim organization that authorities accuse of having links to extremist groups.
In its indictment, police claimed that Kappan and others received funding of around Rs 80 lakh from financial institutions in Doha and Muscat to create trouble, according to Hindu. They alleged that incriminating evidence was found on the defendant’s laptops and cell phones.
Officials were told Indian Express the indictment lists more than 50 witnesses to support the police allegations. The accused wanted to cause law and order problems in the region between protests over the rape and murder of his daughter Dali, the indictment says, according to officials.
Defense attorney Madhuvan Dutt Chaturvedi denied the allegations on behalf of the accused. He said the allegations against Kappan and others were vague, unfounded and initiated to promote the ideological agenda of the state government, Hindu reported.
STF has submitted receipts for the same fund [of Rs 80 lakh] at the top [Sharif]The case which was not considered as a criminal proceeding by the Special Court for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 in Ernakulam [in Kerala], Told Chaturvedi newspaper.
He added that the accused complained of misconduct in prison and told him that they had not been provided with food for more than 24 hours. It is appropriate to mention that Siddique Kappan is a diabetic and Atiqur Rehman suffers from aortic regurgitation, Chaturvedi said.
The next hearing date is set for May 1.
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