The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force probing the conspiracy aspect post Hathras gang rape and murder on Thursday (October 22) visited Mathura, where four alleged members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Campus Front of India (CFI), were arrested on October 5, said police sources.
An alleged PFI member is a Kerala-based journalist, Siddique Kappan.
The STF is investigating the alleged conspiracy to incite caste violence in the backdrop of the gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras.
A local court in Mathura hearing the judicial custody of the four accused adjourned the matter till October 29 and directed the STF to appoint an investigating officer and submit documents related to the case.
A senior police officer said an STF team was preparing to present the evidence in the court. They would seek police custody of the suspects, enabling the STF to interrogate them further about who was behind a website that hosted information about the date, time and location of protests over the incident. The site allegedly also listed ways to avoid detention, mobilise demonstrations and tap into trending hashtags.
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 police claim 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.
The STF team will visit Aligarh and Hathras to collect other FIRs related to the matter and will visit Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad later, said a police officer.
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, sources said.
The death of the alleged gang rape victim after a brutal assault and her hurried cremation in the dead of night on September 29-30 had sparked nationwide outrage as protests erupted in many parts of the country.