After taking over investigation into the alleged conspiracy to incite caste violence in the backdrop of the gang rape and murder of a 20-year old Dalit woman in Hathras, UP special task force (STF) on Thursday visited Mathura, where four alleged members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associate body, the Campus Front of India (CFI), were arrested on October 5, said senior police officials.
A senior police official privy to the investigation stated that the STF visited Hathras as a hearing in the matter related to the judicial custody of the four accused was scheduled there in a local court on Thursday. He said the court adjourned the matter till October 29 and directed the STF to appoint an investigating officer and submit documents related to the case.
He said a team of six STF members were preparing to present the evidence in the court and they would seek police custody of the accused to interrogate them further in connection with people and groups behind a website — justiceforhathrasvictim.carrd.co — that hosted information about the date, time and location of protests over the incident, and also listed ways to avoid detention, mobilise demonstrations and tap into trending hashtags.
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The official said the four accused were identified as Masood Ahmed from Bahraich, Atiq-ur- Rehman from Muzaffarnagar, Alam from Rampur and Siddique Kappan from Malappuram (Kerala). The officer claimed that all the four accused have links with the CFI, while one of them, Masood Ahmed, also has links with active members of PFI arrested earlier from Bahraich on September 7.
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The STF team will visit Aligarh and Hathras on Friday to collect other FIRs related to the matter and will visit Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad later in the week, the official added.
Meanwhile, a team of cyber experts at the STF headquarters in Lucknow, is following the online trail of the website formed to raise funds to foment caste violence in the backdrop of the Hathras incident, he said.