A Kerala journalist and three others were arrested in Uttar Pradesh on Monday over alleged links to the Popular Front of India (PFI), an outfit the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government wants banned.
The four men were headed from Delhi to Hathras, where a Dalit woman was allegedly gang raped and tortured last month by four Thakur men.
Uttar Pradesh police said the four people were in a car when they were stopped and arrested.
The four identified themselves as Atiq-ur Rehman from Muzaffarnagar, Siddique Kappan from Malappuram, Masood Ahmed from Bahraich and Alam from Rampur, they said. Official said they seized their mobile phones, laptop, and some literature, which could have an “impact on peace and order”.
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists has written to CM Adityanath, asking for Kappan’s immediate release, saying he was trying to do his duty as a reporter.
“We understand that he was taken into police custody by Uttar Pradesh police from Hathras toll plaza. Our efforts and the efforts by some advocates based in Delhi to contact him were not successful. The Hathras Police Station and the State Police department has not provided any information so far on taking him into custody,” their letter read.
According to NDTV, Kappan has been linked to PFI in the past, but had sent a legal notice to the people who had made the allegations.
Police claim that the four arrested men’s link to PFI and its associate organisation Campus Front of India had come to light during interrogation.