Congress MLA Mamman Khan has been arrested in connection with the July 31 Nuh violence, the 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 lodged after the communal clashes, was arrested late on Thursday night. The charges in the FIR include promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.
The violence had occurred at mainly three to four places in the Nuh district.
Addressing a press conference in Nuh along with deputy commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata, superintendent of police Narendra Bijarniya said on Friday that Mamman Khan has been arrested.
During the investigation into incidents of violence that took place around Barkali Chowk Nagina, some accused were interrogated and "the MLA's name came to the fore," the SP said.
To a question about the charges against the Congress legislator, the police officer said, "In the acts of vandalism and arson that took place at Nagina's Barkali Chowk, he is accused of provoking people and inciting violence."
When asked if any such evidence has come to the fore which points to the legislator's involvement in a larger conspiracy behind the Nuh violence, the SP replied, "From the details which have emerged during the investigations so far, his involvement is there."
To a question on whether the legislator was physically present on the day of violence, Bijarniya claimed that from the information which has emerged so far, he was present there shortly before the violence occurred.
Several people were injured in the Barkali Chowk violence while government cars, including police vehicles, were damaged and an oil mill was burnt, the SP said.
He added that 60 FIRs have been registered in the Nuh violence and 330 people arrested so far. Moreover, 11 FIRs have been registered against those spreading misleading information and inflammatory propaganda on social media and five people have been arrested, the police officer said.
Security had been beefed up across the district, especially in and around the court complex in Nuh where Khan was produced by the police during the day. The court sent him to police custody for two days.
In an order, home department additional chief secretary TVS N Prasad said mobile Internet and bulk SMS services have been suspended for two days with effect from 10 am on Friday "to stop the spread of misinformation and rumours through various social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter".
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.
Several FIRs were registered after the violence, including one at a police station in Nuh on August 1. Khan had been issued a notice under CrPC Section 160 (requiring his presence before police) in connection with the August 1 FIR.
To another question, SP said that during the interrogation of many of the accused, it came to the fore that they were in direct contact with the MLA.
Bijarniya said the probe into the incidents of arson and vandalism around Barkali Chowk Nagina on the day of Nuh violence points that there might have been contact between the MLA and youths who were involved in spreading misleading and inflammatory propaganda on social media.
He said that every social media activity related to Nuh violence is being closely monitored and an in-depth investigation is being conducted. Some YouTube and Telegram channels were spreading misinformation and inflammatory propaganda even from across the border, the SP said.
Nuh deputy commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata said that internet services in the district have been shut down for two days and prohibitory orders under Section 144 put into effect until further orders to maintain law and order following the arrest of the Ferozepur Jhirka legislator.
People in the district have been appealed to offer Friday prayers from their homes, he said.
The Congress MLA from Ferozepur Jhirka 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.
In his petition, Khan stated that he was at his Gurugram residence between July 26 and August 1 and did not go to the places where the violence had occurred.
The state counsel had told the high court that 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 the July 31 violence, the counsel said.
A total of 52 people were named as accused in the August 1 FIR registered at the 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.
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.