Congress MLA Mamman Khan has been arrested in connection with the July 31 Nuh violence case, police said on Friday, as the administration imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 in the district and suspended mobile Internet services for two days.
The Ferozepur Jhirka legislator, who was named as an accused in an FIR lodge after the communal clashes, was arrested late last night. The charges in the FIR, among others, include promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.
Satish Kumar, Ferozepur Jhirkha Deputy Superintendent of Police and the head of the Special Investigation Team investigating the case, confirmed the arrest. "Yes," he said, when asked if the MLA has been arrested.
Senior Congress MLA from Nuh Aftab Ahmed said, "The police have given information to us that he has been arrested."
Nuh Assistant Superintendent of Police Usha Kundu said Khan is being produced in a city court. "Section 144 has been imposed in the district till further orders."
In an order, Home Department Additional Chief Secretary T V S N Prasad said mobile Internet and bulk SMS services have been suspended "in order to stop the spread of misinformation and rumours through various social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter".
"This order is issued to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in the jurisdiction of district Nuh in the state of Haryana and shall be in force with effect from September 15 (10:00hrs) to September 16 (23:59hrs)," said the order.
Prasad said the decision to suspend the services was taken after the Nuh deputy commissioner wrote to him on Thursday expressing apprehension there could be tension, agitation, damage of public and private property, and disturbance of peace and tranquillity in the district.
"In order to stop the spread of misinformation and rumours through various social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Twitter, etc. on mobile phones and SMS, for facilitation and mobilisation of mobs of agitators and demonstrators who can cause serious loss of life and damage to public and private properties by indulging in arson or vandalism and other types of violent activities, the mobile internet has been suspended," Prasad said.
"I do hereby order the suspension of the mobile internet services(2G/3G/4G/5G/CDMA/GPRS), bulk SMS (excluding banking and mobile recharge) and all dongle services etc. provided on mobile networks except the voice calls in the jurisdiction of district Nuh of Haryana State," Prasad further said.
Sources, meanwhile, said security has been tightened across the district, especially in and around the court complex in Nuh where Khan is expected to be produced by the police later in the day.
A Vishva Hindu Parishad-led procession was attacked by mobs in Nuh on July 31. Six people were killed, most of them during the attack. A cleric died in an attack on a mosque in adjoining Gurugram.
The Ferozepur Jhirka MLA had moved the court on Tuesday, seeking protection from arrest claiming he was being framed in the case when he wasn't even in Nuh the day the violence broke out.
During a hearing on Thursday, Haryana's Additional Advocate General Deepak Sabharwal told the High Court that Khan was named an accused on September 4 after the evidence against him was evaluated. There was "ample evidence" against him, he later told reporters on Thursday.
The MLA's counsel had told reporters after the hearing that Khan has only now come to know that he has been named in the FIR. The court had said Khan can seek appropriate remedy "for protection of liberty in accordance with law", the counsel had said.
Earlier, the MLA was asked twice by the Nuh Police to join the investigation but he failed to appear before it. He did not comply with the police summons for August 31, saying he had a viral fever.
Several FIRs were registered after the violence including one at a police station in Nuh on August 1. Khan had been given a notice under section 160 of the CrPC (requiring his presence before police) in connection with the August 1 FIR.
In his petition, Khan stated that he was at his Gurugram residence between July 26 to August 1 and did not go to the places where the violence had occurred.
But the government's counsel had said after the hearing that Khan's call detail records, his phone tower location, his personal security officer's statement and other evidence falsified his claim.
The counsel said phone call details and tower locations of Khan and Taufiq, another accused who was arrested on September 9, were examined. It was found that calls were exchanged between them on July 29 and 30, a day ahead of July 31 violence, he had said.
A total of 52 people were named as accused in the FIR dated August 1 registered under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code at Nagina Police Station of Nuh. Forty-two of them were already arrested, according to officials.
The charges in the FIR include promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.
The government counsel also claimed Khan purportedly posted on WhatsApp as well as on Facebook on July 30 that "nobody needs to worry as the petitioner had fought for them in the Vidhan Sabha".
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had addressed the Mamman Khan case at a press conference in Chandigarh on Wednesday. "If during investigations he is found involved then he will not be spared," he had said.