Under fire for mishandling the Hathras case , the Uttar Pradesh police on Monday claimed that there was a “conspiracy” by some groups and individuals to instigate caste and communal violence in the State in the aftermath of the brutal gangrape and assault of a Dalit girl .
At least six FIRs have been lodged in Hathras, including one invoking sedition and criminal conspiracy, against persons and parties for allegedly trying to instigate the victim’s family, violating COVID-19 and Section 144 norms through illegal assemblies in and around the affected village, and for trying to spread caste discord through misleading statements, police said.
Additionally, 13 FIRs were lodged and five persons were arrested in Bijnor, Hathras, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Prayagraj, Ayodhya and Lucknow on charges of posting offensive statements over the incident on social media.
The U.P. police allegations came amidst charges of highhandedness levelled against it by Opposition parties who have faced difficulties in trying to meet the family of the victim over the last week .
On Sunday, police lathicharged RLD vice-president Jayant Chaudhary and his colleagues while they were on way to meet the family. Police had also used force against SP workers and booked members of the Bhim Army .
The police narrative that there was a “conspiracy” over the issue came a day after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had claimed, while hinting at the role of Opposition parties, that those who do not like development, “want to trigger caste and communal riots in the State as well as in the country”.
Mr. Adityanath, without taking names, had alleged that his opponents were indulging in “newer conspiracies” to derive political mileage.
In an official statement, U.P. police said even though the government had recommended a CBI probe into the matter, some groups and individuals wanted to create a frenzy by triggering communal and caste violence and discord to defame the government. The police, also without specifically naming anyone, claimed groups were circulating misleading and malicious information on social media and violating prohibitory orders through unnecessary assembly near the house and village of the victim.
The main FIR lodged at Chandrapa police station alleged that “some anti-social elements” tried to instigate the family of the victim, pressurised them to give wrong statements and even tried to offer them an inducement of ₹50 lakh as part of a “criminal conspiracy” to spoil peace in the State and spread caste discord.
ADG Law and Order Prashant Kumar said an investigation had been launched into the conspiracy and arrests would be made. When asked by a reporter about an international website being linked by the police with the case, Mr. Kumar said, “It will be proper to comment on this after gathering of evidence.“