Responding to a delayed counter affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh government, the 3 alleged Popular Front of India’s (PFI) members, who were detained along with journalist Siddique Kappan on their way to Hathras, have stated that they are victims of communally charged politics and the propaganda run by various media outlets.
The affidavit has been filed in a habeas corpus petition filed by the three accused. They have filed a rejoinder affidavit stating that the State Government’s counter affidavit reeks of communalism as it accuses the Petitioners of trying to create Islamic Rule in the Nation, without any iota of evidence.
The rejoinder states that since a few days prior to the arrest of the petitioners, a large section of media was running a false agenda of ‘Conspiracy to instigate Riots and create Caste-based unrest’ and ‘International Conspiracy to defame Govt. with funding from Islamic States’ in relation to the Hathras gang rape incident.
As per LiveLaw, the rejoinder states, “The petitioners, who are not associated, affiliated or related to any political party or dispensation, were unlawfully arrested and detained in an utter travesty of their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Part III of the Constitution, in a blistering display of collusion and high-handedness of the police authorities, administration and the media.”
The rejoinder states that all allegations against the petitioners such as dividing Dalit group against other caste and also against the State, or to unite Dalit group to create proxy war against the State are all concocted and drawn on communal lines.
The rejoinder also alleges that the state government has committed contempt of court by stating that the judicial remand of the petitioners was extended by 180 days by a Sessions Court when in fact it was passed by Additional Sessions Judge, who is not a competent authority under the NIA Act.
The rejoinder also states that the investigation is vitiated due to non-compliance of law as Section 6 of NIA Act was violated. As per the provision State government is required to forward the report of police authorities relating to commission of a Scheduled Offence, to the Central Government as expeditiously as possible which in turn will determine, within 15 days, whether the offence is a Scheduled Offence or not and also whether it is a fit case to be investigated by the NIA. The rejoinder states that since the state’s counter affidavit does not mention any such procedure being followed, the entire investigation amounts to “usurpation of jurisdiction of the Central Government and a fraud on the law”.
The Petitioners Atik Ur Rehman, a student; Alam, a cab driver and Masud, an activist, were intercepted by UP Police while they were on their to Hathras to meet the family of the victim of gang rape. They were all arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police after a laptop and some ‘objectionable’ literature relating to ‘Justice for Hathras Victim’ was allegedly recovered from their possession while they were en route to Hathras. It is alleged that they are linked with Popular Front of India’s (PFI) student wing Campus Front of India (CFI) and were traveling from Delhi.
The petition will be next heard on February 18