FPJ Explains: Why has Yogi govt filed sedition charges in Hathras case and against whom?

Amid massive outrage over the Hathras rape-murder case, the Uttar Pradesh Police has registered an FIR under serious charges like sedition for alleged attempt to trigger caste-based conflict.

This comes amid controversy over the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman after she was allegedly gang-raped and assaulted, leading to her death last week. The anger erupted after hurried cremation of the girl in the dead of the night. While the police claimed the last rites were held in presence of the kin and with their permission, the family claimed the cremation was carried out against their wishes.

Opposition parties and activists have queued up to visit the Hathras village despite restrictions from the district administration. The village was sealed by the police and even media was stopped from entering, triggering further controversy.

'Open' FIR

An 'open' FIR under 20 different sections was registered at the Chandapa police station in Hathras against unnamed persons for 'conspiring to create caste tensions and destabilise the Yogi Adityanath government".

"The UP government's statements and facts related to the Hathras incident are being forged, manipulated and circulated through social media. Misleading content is being shared with forged logos of media houses," a police officer told PTI.

"Some accused are circulating material that could trigger caste-based conflict and these are serious offences considering the current situation in the region," the officer said, adding the investigation is underway.

According to local officials, the Hathras police have so far registered around a dozen complaints under the IT Act related to the Dalit girl's case and they are being probed by the Cyber Cell.

Sedition charges

The IPC sections include 124A (sedition), 505 (intending to cause public alarm and inducing someone to commit offence against state or public tranquility), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups).

The police have also invoked section 67 (transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the IT Act, according to the FIR.

Other sections include 120 B, 153 B, 195, 195A, 465, 468, 469, 501 and Section 67 of Information and Technology Act.

Who are the people being probed?

According to an IANS report, those under the scanner include politicians, local people and even journalists whose telephonic conversations with the victim's family indicates that they were provoking them to give statements against the government.

However, the FIR is lodged against "unknown" persons for alleged attempt to trigger caste-based conflict.

Yogi's charge against opposition

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Sunday hit back at Opposition over their relentless attack on his government over the Hathras incident, saying they are "indulging in newer conspiracies" to trigger riots and hamper development.

Speaking to reporters, Adityanath said, "Those who do not like development, they want to trigger communal and caste riots in the state and in the country."

"They will derive political mileage from the riots, hence they are indulging in newer conspiracies. We have to be alert against all these conspiracies and accelerate the process of development," he said.

CBI probe in rape-murder case

The Dalit teen had died of grievous injuries in a Delhi hospital on September 29, a fortnight after she was allegedly raped at her village by four upper-caste men.

The incidents have triggered a massive outrage across the country, bringing severe flak for the government of UP which has now recommended a CBI probe into the whole episode.

(With agencies)

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Free Press Journal