Sedition rap on Hathras-bound Kerala journalist

The Uttar Pradesh police on Wednesday booked four persons, including a Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, on the charge of sedition, two days after they were detained while on their way to Hathras.

The FIR claims that the police recovered pamphlets titled "Justice for Hathras victim", six mobiles and a laptop from them; during the initial probe it was found that they were going to Hathras with an intention “to breach peace” as part of a “conspiracy”.

They have also been charged under IPC Section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief).

It is alleged that the website ‘Justice for Hathras' is a platform for instigating caste violence, riots and collecting donations.

Such websites are spreading anti-national propaganda in the country and distorting facts to create tension and disturb law and order, the FIR states.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Kappan's release and also filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court.

The Press Association and the Indian Women Press Corps on Wednesday described the journalist's arrest as the Uttar Pradesh government's attempt to "silence" the media and demanded his immediate release.

NARRATIVE CHANGES: Meanwhile, the narrative in the 'horrific' Hathras incident has started changing and accused are now getting increasing support from BJP leaders.

The revelation of call detail records (CDR) of the victim's family which show that they had spoken 104 times in five months with the main accused, Sandeep Singh, has given a new angle to the case. Police sources said that the CDR proves that both the families were on good terms.

Call records show that 62 outgoing and 42 incoming calls were made. "The victim's family has concealed this information from us all along. The matter will have to be investigated and we will be interrogating the girl's brothers on this issue," said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

The girl's brother admits that the number belongs to him but vehemently denies having spoken to any member of the accused family.

The victim's family's refusal to undergo a narco-test has also put them under the lens. Thakur Somesh Singh, a local resident, said, "It is a case of honour killing. The government has confirmed that there was no rape. Medical reports also state that rape did not take place. So why would some other boys strangulate her."

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