On January 28, Mathura jail officials allowed a 10-minute video call for Siddique Kappan, a journalist booked under draconian UAPA, to see his 90-year-old ailing mother, Khadeeja Kutty. Although her son appeared on a small mobile screen, Khadeeja was not conscious to make a conversation. Due to dementia, she kept losing herself as time ran out merciless.
“Kappan saw his mother but she was not even able to look into the screen,” says Raihana, Siddique Kappan’s wife. “Whenever she regains consciousness, she is asking about her son, when will he come? Will he come tomorrow?”
Journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested in October while travelling from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh to cover the caste-rape and killing of a 19-year Dalit woman in Hathras. Kappan, along with three others, were booked under UAPA for allegedly instigating violence and defaming India after Hathras killing.
Khadeeja was discharged from the hospital on Sunday as the doctors said, there is nothing further to be done in order to improve her health condition.
In view of the urgency of the situation, the Kerala Union of Working Journalist (KUWJ) moved Supreme Court seeking permission for Kappan to meet his ailing mother.
Representing KUWJ, lawyer Wills Mathew pleaded that Kappan’s 90- year-old mother Kadeeja Kutty’s health is precarious and that she has been ardently requesting to meet her son. The petitioner also stated that Kappan’s mother has claimed that it’s her last wish.
On January 22, the SC had allowed Kappan to speak to his mother through video call after his lawyer Kapil Sibal requested the court to make an exception considering her ill-health.
The video conference did not fulfil the mother’s wish and the family has thus urged the court to grant interim bail to enable the detenu to meet his mother. The Kerala Government does not show any interest in the case stating, they cannot do anything that has happened outside the state and let the law does what can be done.
“We have pleaded the maximum to involve in the case and now the government should take an initiative out of their own interests.” says the wife of Kappan. She added, “And I don’t know what kind of hopes I should have of this state government.”
Kappan’s family firm believes on the MPs irrespective of the political ideology they hold on, they will do something.
Last week, the Supreme Court adjourned Kappan’s habeas corpus petition for six weeks based on UP Government’s request.
“We expected the court will hear us soon and he will come out within a week when SC adjourned it for six more weeks based on the opposition’s request was devastating” – responded the wife.
The CJI-led bench has on many posting dates expressed disinclination to entertain the petition, asking the petitioner to approach the High Court. “We are trying to discourage Article 32 petitions”, CJI said on one posting date.
Subsequently, the KUWJ filed an additional rejoinder denying Kappan’s connections with Popular Front of India (PFI). The KUWJ stated that Kappan, as a journalist, has strong roots in society and may have come in contact with people from all walks of life, including the PFI, and that does not mean that he is a criminal. In any case, PFI is not a banned organization, the rejoinder stated.