The Karnataka police have pressed charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 against the persons arrested in connection with the murder of Bajrang Dal activist Harsha. The 26-year-old Harsha was brutally hacked to death near Kamat Petrol Pump on NT Road in Shivamogga, Karnataka on February 20 over a Facebook post in connection to the hijab controversy.
UAPA is invoked in cases involving threats to national security and national integrity. Since the Karnataka police are “suspecting a larger conspiracy behind the murder” of Harsha it has decided to invoke UAPA against the accused namely, Mahammad Qasif (Kasif), Syed Nadeem, Rihan Sharief, Asif Ullah Khan, Abdul Afnan, Nihan, Faraz Pasha, Abdul Khadar Jilan, Abdul Roshan and Jafar Sadiq.
Under the UAPA, police gain custody of a suspect for 30 days and have 180 days instead of 90 days to file a charge sheet. The law’s stipulations also make it difficult for an accused person to obtain bail.
Moreover, there are possibilities that once the local police investigation is completed, the government may turn the case over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The police said that after the investigation team completed its probe it handed over the accused to judicial custody. The police took the ten accused into their custody and interrogated them for 11 days until Monday, March 7.
Harsha was stabbed to death by a gang of Muslim youths on the night of February 20 near Kamat petrol bunk in the Shivamogaa district of Karnataka. He was a tailor by occupation and hailed from Seegehatti. Harsha was a member of the Hindu organisation Bajrang Dal, and was seen sporting saffron shawls to demand uniformity in the dress code of schools and colleges.
A friend of the Bajrang Dal activist claimed Harsha had been under surveillance for the past few weeks and that the murder was a “well-planned plot.” Harsha’s friend, who requested anonymity, said the Bajrang Dal activist had also received multiple calls from unknown numbers.
The cold-blooded murder of the Bajrang Dal activist had provoked a wave of protests across the area, forcing the district administration to impose a curfew and close educational institutions.
People on social media, too, had expressed their anger at the heinous murder of the Bajrang Dal activist. Hashtag #JusticeForHarsha trended on social media platforms as support for the murdered Harsha poured in. From actress Kangana Ranaut and Raveena Tondon to BJP leaders and prominent members of the society expressed their anger over the cold-blooded murder.