‘Went to Hathras to Create Divide’: UP Govt on Kerala Journalist

The Quint
·2-min read

The Uttar Pradesh government, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, has claimed that Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan is a secretary of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and was going to Hathras under the identity of reporting for a newspaper that was shut in 2018, according to reports.

Opposing the habeas corpus petition against Kappan’s arrest, which the Supreme Court heard on Friday, 20 November, the UP government said he, along with others, were going to Hathras with a “very determined design to create caste divide and disturb law and order situation.”

The state government also stated that the journalist has been in touch with the lawyers, and hasn’t been denied meeting with them.

The habeas corpus petition against his arrest had been filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ).

What Happened in the Court?

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the case till next week, with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitting that there was no objection to lawyers meeting with Kappan in jail to sign a vakalatnama, Live Law reported.

CJI Bobde on Friday also said that there was “very unfair reporting about our earlier order, Bar & Bench reported. “It was said that we denied you relief.”

In the last hearing, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde had issued notice in the plea, and said the matter would be listed on Friday, when the State of Uttar Pradesh would have to respond regarding Kappan’s arrest and the request that he be granted interim bail.

Lodged in Mathura jail, Kappan spoke with his lawyer briefly this week, according to Bar & Bench.

What’s the Case All About?

Kappan, a freelance journalist, was on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh to report on the alleged gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman there, when he (along with three others he was travelling with) was arrested on 5 October by the UP Police’s Special Task Force.

On 7 October, they were booked for sedition under the Indian Penal Code and under Section 17 of the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, pertaining to raising funds for a terrorist act. The police claim they have links to the Popular Front of India (PFI), which is still not a banned organisation in India, but is often referred to as a successor to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

Also Read: Meghalaya HC Refuses To Quash Case Against Journo For FB Post

(With inputs from Bar & Bench and Live Law.)

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