Journalist, politician among many booked for sedition, criminal conspiracy in Hathras ‘gang-rape, murder’ case

Uttar Pradesh: Weeks after the “gang-rape and murder” of a young woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district by four upper-caste Hindu men, UP police have booked a number people including a  journalist and a politician, both unnamed as of now, for sedition, criminal conspiracy and attempt to instigate riots by spreading misinformation regarding the incident.

According to a report by Times of India, the FIR was lodged on Sunday at the Chandpa police station. Three other FIRs lodged in Hathras booked 680 people, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, for Section 144 violations.

Later on Monday, 19 were filed across UP, that carried serious charges. At least 13 FIRs were related to social media posts that “intended to disturb peace”. Five people have been arrested amid outrage over the alleged gang-rape and murder.

ADG (law and order) Prashant Kumar told ToI that the social media posts had the “potential to create disturbance in the state”. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath later said that “foreign funding” was being used to hatch conspiracies to spread caste and communal divide in the state.

The FIR with sedition charges came after a complaint filed by sub-inspector Avdhesh Kumar who alleged that “some antisocial elements have been trying to disrupt social harmony in the state in a pre-planned conspiracy against the government”.

It added that “the victim’s family was under pressure to give incorrect statements against the government and was promised Rs 50 lakh by a political leader” for doing so.

“A journalist asked the victim’s brother to convince their father to give a statement saying they were not satisfied with the government’s action in the matter,” the complaint alleged, according to the report.

It also said that medical reports had ruled out the possibility of rape but the family had been “lured to distort facts”.

The FIR mentioned as many as 19 charges under IPC Sections, including 124A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity) and four of its sub-sections, 153-B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) along with 195 (fabricating false evidence) and 195 A (threat for false evidence) among others.

Two more FIRs — one registered at Chandpa and another at Hathras Gate — booked unknown people for disturbing peace and violations of prohibitory orders under Section 144, the report mentioned.


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