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‘Masterminds’ of U.P. arson held: police

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PFI claims police implicating them

The Uttar Pradesh police claim to have nabbed the ‘masterminds’ behind the arson and vandalism that took place in the State capital during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on December 19 in which at least one person lost his life.

The Lucknow police said that Islamic outfit, Popular Front of India, was allegedly behind the violent protests and arrested its three members — Wasim Ahmed, PFI ad hoc committee U.P. president; Mohammad Nadeem, PFI U.P. treasurer and another member Qari Ashfaq.

The PFI has denied the charges and accused the police of falsely implicating its associates. The U.P. police were making ‘baseless allegations’, the PFI said in a statement.

Presenting two of the three accused in front of media with their faces covered on Monday, SSP Lucknow Kalanidhi Naithani said the PFI members had ‘in a planned manner’ made the scheme to hold violent protests. Mr. Naithani said it was revealed through the Whatsapp chats of the accused that they were ‘instigating’ people for the same.

‘From other States too’

The accused allegedly had mobilised protesters from not only other districts of U.P. but also from other States, said the SSP, adding that six persons from Malda in West Bengal had already been arrested.

Mr. Naithani said pamphlets, paper cuttings, postcards, flags, CDs and other literature were recovered from them.

The PFI has its headquarters in Delhi but has presence in 13 States, in particular Kerala, the police said. The arrests came after the Deputy CM claimed there was involvement of the PFI and that they had a connection with the banned outfit SIMI.

The PFI said that by covering the faces of their associates, the police was trying to ‘add terror background to the whole episode’.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:47:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/masterminds-of-up-arson-held-police/article30392278.ece

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