Campaign

Siddique Kappan: One year of an unjust incarceration

The Siddique Kappan Solidarity Committee held a press conference in Calicut, Kerala, on Oct 1, 2021, to recognise that the jailed journalist is a Prisoner of Conscience and given legal support by the Kerala Government and to demand his release. Kappan was arrested, along with three others, on Oct 5, 2020, while travelling to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, to report on a horrific gang-rape and murder of a young dalit woman. He, along with the others accused, has been denied bail multiple times.

(From l to r): P Ambika, journalist and social activist, Raihanath Kappen, N P Chekkutty, journalist and convener of the Siddique Kappan Solidarity Committee and Reny Ayline, human rights activist address the press conference

N P Chekutty said that the Committee raised two demands. First, that Siddique Kappen be recognised as a prisoner of conscience and given legal support by the Kerala government as the courts already have rejected the charge that he went to Hathras to create riots. Second, that his wife and three children be given government support as they have no means of livelihood.

Kappan’s wife, Raihanath, said that he was in a highly distressed condition, his sugar level was very high and his eyesight is seriously damaged. She said, “since the police failed to produce any evidence for their propped up charges, they are now asking where the Rs 25000, which was in his account, came from! This amount was what was left from a small household chit we had enrolled ourselves in for house repair when he was arrested.”

Raihanath, who was a home-maker but has been working incessantly for the release of her husband, has called upon society to stand by her as she was a victim of conspiracies of a political nature.

The Siddique Kappan Solidarity Committee is organising a series of events to mark one year of his arrest.

Brief Backgrounder

On October 5, 2020, four persons, were arrested when they were travelling to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, where a young dalit woman was brutally gang-raped and assaulted. The four including journalist Siddique Kappan, who was going to the village to report on the incident. She succumbing to her injuries on September 14 after battling for two weeks in hospital in Delhi. Police had hurriedly cremated her body, refusing to hand it over to her family. The media were barred from the village and villagers, including the family of the woman, actively discouraged and intimidated by the local administration from speaking out.

In an attempt to deflect from the horrific incident and the failure of the administration, the police mounted an incredible case against the journalist and his associates,Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood Ahmed and Alam, accusing them of a criminal conspiracy to breach the peace and disrupt law and order. The were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on sedition. They were repeatedly denied bail. In February, Kappan was allowed to meet his ailing mother, ninety-year-old Khadeeja Kutty, for five days. She passed away on June 18, three days after a Mathura court dropped proceedings on breach of peace charges as the Uttar Pradesh police failed to complete the inquiry against them within six months.

Read more here : Siddique Kappan Case: A Betrayal of Justice

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