Leader of PFI’s student wing held in Kerala, Hathras funding link under scanner

Campus Front of India (CFI) general secretary Rauf Shareef was taken into custody at Thiruvananthapuram airport on Saturday. The action followed a lookout notice issued by the Uttar Pradesh police against him in connection with alleged funding to foment trouble after the Hathras gang rape case, additional director general (law and order) Prashant Kumar said.

The office-bearer of the students’ wing of Popular Front of India (PFI) was wanted over alleged funding to incite caste violence in the backdrop of the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman — a crime suspected to have been carried out by upper caste men — in Hathras earlier this year.

Kumar said that Shareef, a resident of Kerala, was held when he reached the airport to move out of the country. He said the accused was planning to go to Muscat.

A police team from the state will leave for Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday morning to take custody of Shareef and bring him to Uttar Pradesh to interrogate him. The lookout notice was issued against him on November 18 after his name surfaced for generating funds to incite violence in the state after four members of PFI were arrested from Mathura while going to Hathras on October 5. He said the FIR was lodged with Math police station of Mathura in the matter, the ADG said.

He said the lookout notice was issued after investigations revealed that Rauf was in frequent touch with two of the four persons, Atiq-ur-Rehman and Masood, after the Hathras incident in September. He said Shareef provided funds as well as made other arrangements to incite violence.

According to the ADG, the probe also hinted that Shareef has been involved in generating funds from abroad and using them to create tension and incite violence in the country.

The Uttar Pradesh police’s special task force has been investigating the matter after taking over the case on October 22. STF officials have claimed that they had collected much evidence since then to unravel the entire conspiracy to incite caste violence with the intention to create a law and order situation in the state.

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