Family of arrested Ker journalist Kappan seeks CM's intervention

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 12 (PTI) Family members of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police three months ago, staged a dharna here in front of the Secretariat here on Tuesday demanding the intervention of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to set him free.

Kappan, secretary of the Delhi unit of Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), and three other alleged Popular Front of India (PFI) activists were booked by the UP police on sedition and other serious charges in Mathura on October 5 last year while they were heading to Hathras where a 19-year old Dalit woman had allegedly been gang-raped and murdered.

Speaking to the media, Kappan's wife, Reaiheanath alleged that her husband was tortured by the Uttar Pradesh police and asked him to name any CPI(M) leaders in order to escape from his ordeal.

'They tortured him while he was arrested. They tortured him saying he is a Keralite. Kappan told me and our lawyer that the UP police asked him to name some CPI(M) leaders so that he can escape from the orderal,' she said.

'They also asked why Rahul Gandhi visited our house and whether Kappan eats beef. They accused him of having assets worth Rs 100 crore. But just see our house and everyone will understand how much we have,' she added.

Hamsa, elder brother of Kappan, said the Kerala chief minister had said that the government was unable to interfere in the matter as it was outside the state.

'We had written a letter to CM seeking his intervention in the matter. But we got a reply saying the government was unable to interfere as it was outside the state. This dharna is to demand the intervention of the CM in the matter. We hope he will. We have been requesting everyone.

They (UP police) have not even presented any evidence in the matter,' Hamsa said.

Reaiheanath said the health of Kappan's mother, who is 90, was deteriorating and needed help for everything.

Mother of three minors, Reaiheanath (37) is running from pillar to post seeking justice for Kappan and her family.

On January5, the judicial custody of Kappan and three others--Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood, and Alam--was extended by 90 days.

Uttar Pradesh police submitted to the court that since most of the offices of the PFI and other allied organisations are based in Kerala and during the investigation there some more information has surfaced, the STF needs the accused to be in judicial custody for verification of the information.

According to the FIR, charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the IT Act were also filed against the four men, who were accused by the state police of having links with the PFI.

The four men were arrested from a toll plaza in Mathura as they were heading to Hathras district to visit the victim's native village.

The Hathras incident that witnessed nationwide outrage involved a 19-year old Dalit woman who was allegedly raped at a village in the district by four men on September 14 last year.PTI RRT SS PTI PTI