As the days pass, the case surrounding the alleged gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras grows increasingly complex. The UP police on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court in an affidavit to direct a CBI investigation monitored by the apex court.
At the same time, on Sunday, Uttar Pradesh police lodged at least 19 FIRs across the state on charges ranging from attempt to trigger caste conflict to sedition in connection with the incident. The Yogi Adityanath led government says that attempts are being made to exploit the case and that there is more to it than initially believed.
One of the FIRs lodged at Chandpa police station in Hathras district against unknown persons mentioned alleged attempts to foment cast conflict, promoting enmity between groups and tarnish the image of the government and invoked section 124A of the Indian Penal Code -- the serious charge of sedition. The FIRs also deal with content posted on social media.
According to an NDTV report, one of the FIRs accuses "unknown" people of sedition and conspiracy. It alleges that the family of the victim was offered Rs. 50 lakh to lie about the state government.
But one of the most talked about points perhaps is the allegation of an "international conspiracy" to create a chaotic situation in the state. Reportedly, the state government has ordered a probe into the conspiracy to instigate the caste clashes. A senior government official was quoted as saying that the preliminary probe indicated the involvement of people outside the country.
“Our preliminary probe indicates that along with local people, organisations and people based in some foreign countries launched the website to incite caste riots in UP on the lines of race-related clashes in the United States,” the official said.
What exactly is this website?
Officials say that a website by the name of 'justiceforhathrasvictim.carrd.co' had shared details regarding the timing and location of protests, links to petitions that can be signed and more. While this site appears to have been taken down now, a quick Google search reveals images for numerous posters for protests across the country.
carrd.co platforms have gained popularity with protesters across the globe, and links for 'blacklivesmatter.carrd.co' and 'standwithhongkong.carrd.co' had been shared widely. As per their website, carrd.co is "a free platform for building simple, fully responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything."
Coming back to the Hathras version of the site, it had reportedly also provided viewers with do's and don'ts when it come to protesting and staying safe during riots and altercations with the police. An Indian Express report quoted sources to say that a large part of the content appeared to have been lifted from information shared online by Black Lives Matter protesters in the US.