Hathras: STF likely to probe ‘ploy’ to incite caste violence

Lucknow The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) is likely to probe the case related to the alleged conspiracy to incite caste violence in the backdrop of the alleged gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras, senior government authorities said on Friday.

A state government official said on condition of anonymity that the government is considering asking UP STF to conduct a detailed investigation of the alleged conspiracy on the basis of initial findings by a three-member Special Investigation Team headed by home secretary Bhagwan Swaroop in the incident.

This person added that the probe would likely focus on 19 first information reports (FIR) lodged in seven districts in connection with allegations that some political groups and other organizations were trying to incite caste-related violence. According to him, the main FIR, filed at the Chandpa police station in Hathras, invoked charges of sedition, promoting enmity, inciting caste-based violence and other sections of the Indian Penal Code against unknown people and groups.

The UP government, which forcibly cremated the body of the woman , with her immediately family not present, has maintained that much of the outrage following the woman’s death from injuries sustained during the assault, and the forced cremation, was orchestrated by enemies of the state. The Allahabat High Court has already come down hard on the state for the forced cremation and said this was a violation of the human rights of the victim as well as the family.

The government official claimed an initial probe into the matter has revealed that some people raised funds through a website, which had now been taken down, to foment caste violence in the backdrop of the Hathras incident.

Four people including a journalist, allegedly linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associate body, Campus Front of India (CFI, were arrested in Mathura on October 5.

The official said the STF probe would also focus on people and groups behind justiceforhathrasvictim.carrd.co that hosted information about date, time and location of protests that swept India over the past week.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is already probing the monetary angle and sources of illegal funds raised through the website while the case of gang rape and murder is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The Central Bureau of Investigation meanwhile, found clothes with what look like blood-stains at the house of Luv Kush Sikarwar, one of the four accused in the gang rape.

However, the family members of Luv Kush claimed that Ravi Sikarwar, the elder brother of the accused is employed as a painter in a factory, and thus his clothes had red stains.

“The CBI team stayed for two-and-a-half hours and kept on searching our house. They found clothes with red stains on it and took that along,” said Lalit Sikarwar, the accused’s younger brother

The CBI team has been in the village for four days and has interacted with the father and brothers of the victim. On Tuesday, it visited the crime scene,

The CBI team was at the house of all four accused on Thursday and extensively interrogated their family members.

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