Hathras Horror: UP Police in damage control mode with multiple FIRs, arrests

Uttar Pradesh police, under BJP-led state gov't, borrowing a leaf from Delhi Police playbook?

hathras gang rape

Those who have followed the Delhi Police investigations after the February 2020 riots are familiar with the fact that multiple FIRs, arrests, and chargesheets often add fuel to existing conspiracy theories, and generate new ones.

Now, the Uttar Pradesh Police seem to have left the Delhi Police behind and registered over 21 (at last count) First Information Reports (FIRs), in the past 24 hours or so. All this in the aftermath of the death of the young Dalit woman, who had alleged she was gangraped and tortured. These are not FIRs against the men accused of committing the heinous crime by the dying victim herself. Most of these FIRs are accusing those who came forward to seek justice, in various ways, for the victim, and her surviving family, who have also alleged they are being harassed by the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Uttar Pradesh police and administration has been most active in the past two days. These multiple FIRs were registered following UP Chief Minister Adityanath’s allegations that the Hathras horror was “being exploited by those who were upset at his government’s progress”. They were filed even before after any firm progress, apart from the arrests made, in the investigations into the original gang rape case. No steps have been taken to protect her family after they complained of harassment. 

The FIRs filed so far, against political leaders and activists, who came out in support of the victim, include allegations under sections of the Indian Penal Code, IT Act, and CrPc:

  • Section 124A IPC: Sedition

  • Section 505 IPC: Intending to cause public alarm and inducing someone to commit offence against state or public tranquility

  • Section 153A IPC:Conspiracy and promoting religious hatred 

  • Section 109 IPC: Abetment if the act is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment

  • Section120 B IPC: Criminal conspiracy

  • Section153 A IPC: Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony

  • Section 153 B IPC: Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration

  • Section 420 IPC: Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property

  •  Section 67 IT Act: Transmitting obscene material in electronic form

  • Section 195 IPC: Fabricating evidence with intent to procure conviction of offence punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment 

  • Section 195A IPC: Threatening a person to give false evidence

  • Section 469 IPC: Forgery for the purpose of harming reputation 

  • Section 501 IPC: Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory

  • Violating Section 144 CrPC: Section prohibits assembly of four or more people  

  • Violating Covid-19 guidelines: Maintaining physical distance, using masks/face covering  

The main FIRs registered in Hathras have unidentified persons as accused. The rest of the FIRs in other districts have named persons as accused. According to a report in The Indian Express, FIRs accusing individuals and organisations for forwarding fake information to incite people. “Even though the local administration, keeping in mind the Covid-19 protocol, had given permission to five persons each of political parties to visit, members and leaders of different political organisations gathered in large numbers and initiated violence, while breaking down the system set up by the police. The police had to use minor force to bring the situation under control,” said the police statement.

The IE reports that the sedition FIR filed in Hathras, is based on a police complaint, and is exploring an alleged “international conspiracy” to instigate riots along “caste lines and defame the state government”. As reported earlier the investigators discovered a website ‘justiceforhathrasvictim.carrd.co’ which seemed to have information on “how to protest safely and avoid police”. The IE quotes sources stating that this website “copied information from protests going on in the US, particularly the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests,” the dos and don’ts, it  reportedly listed, included “how to stay safe during riots, in situations when teargas shelling and arrests take place.”


FIRs accused Political Parties

  • Sections 146-148 Rioting: Samajwadi Party, accused of “a scuffle” with police while attempting to enter village.

  • Sections 146-148 Rioting” Rashtriya Lok Dal, accused of “a scuffle” with police while attempting to enter the village.” 

  • Congress party: Accused of “circulating a video”. 

  • Bhim Army: Accused of gathering a crowd of 400-500 in violation of Section 144 CrPC

  • An ex-MLA Rajveer Pahalwan:  Accused of organising a public meeting in violation of Covid-19 protocol.

“The main FIR filed at Chandpa police station will look into the overall conspiracy regarding the incident. There is plenty of evidence — for instance, call detail records of those trying to offer money to the woman’s parents. All these things will be looked at and action will be taken accordingly,” Superintendent of Police, Hathras, Vineet Jaiswal was quoted by IE. The statement issued by the State DGP’s office had said this FIR was filed in connection with “fringe elements” who tried to “incite the victim’s family, put pressure on them and offered them Rs 50 lakh to make false statements, and circulated objectionable audios on social media.”

Other sections added in the FIR include Section 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to a public servant) and Section 353 (assault to deter a public servant) , and Section 153A and 505(2), allegedly promoting enmity between different groups, in this case by circulating an inciting video. SP Jaiswal told the media that, “there are several people online who have been posting content to specifically create caste-based tensions. These have been forwarded to the Cyber Cell and FIRs have been filed.” It is also reported that the Cyber Cell is tracking those who shared photographs of a body, claiming it to be the victim’s. The police are also  tracking video clips “attributing wrongful statements to the chief minister”, as well as “copies of medical reports that were not found to be authentic” reported IE.

An FIR has also been registered in Mathura against members of the ‘Campus Front of India’ under CrPC Section 151, under which “a police officer knowing of a design to commit any cognizable offence may arrest, without orders from a magistrate and without a warrant, the person so designing”. 

According to IE, 14 more FIRs registered for “objectionable posts on social media”, and five people have been arrested, including former Congress councilor Shailendra Tiwari who has been accused of “putting up inciting posters” an FIR was registered at Hazratganj police station against him. At the Rampur police station, Saharanpur, an FIR was filed against as Abhishek Shekhawat and Thakur Satyam Chauhan, for allegedly putting up objectionable posts on social media, and an FIR was registered at Khandasa police station against one Gayadeen Chaudhary for Facebook posts reported IE. In Prayagraj, officials said, three separate FIRs were registered and two persons have been arrested, stated the report, adding that one Ajeem Chaudhary was arrested in Bijnor, allegedly for posting something “objectionable” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Adityanath. 



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Why are rapists and ‘upper-caste’ supremacists getting bolder in UP?

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