India

UP court rejects bail plea of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan

A Mathura local court in Uttar Pradesh has rejected the bail plea of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been charged under draconian UAPA in Hathras conspiracy case along with other seven Muslim youths.

While rejecting the bail plea, Judge, Anil Kumar observed that there was prima facie case that Kappan and other co-accused were trying to disturb the law and other situation when they were heading to report the gang rape and murder of Dalit woman by upper caste Hindu men in Hathras.

This comes even after charges related to apprehension of breach of peace against Kappan and others were dropped on 15 June 2021 by a Mathura court, as the police had failed to complete the investigation into the case within six months.

Siddique Kappan had approached the court for bail, contending that there was no evidence to back up the case against him.

The court today also noted that the allegation against Kappan is that he, along with the co-accused committed acts that promoted enmity within the society and affected the communal harmony prevailing in the society.

“The facts stated in the FIR are fabricated, concocted and manipulated. The foundation of this FIR is ‘media reports’ as evident from the contents of the FIR itself,” Kappan told the court.

Kappan who is also the Delhi unit secretary of Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), recently lost his mother to prolonged illness. Ninety-year-old Khadeeja Kutty passed away on 18 June in Kerala’s Malappuram district. In February, he was granted five days’ interim bail to meet his mother.

Kappan, Campus Front of India national leader Atiqur Rahman, Jamia Millia Islamia student Masood Ahmed and a Delhi based cab driver Alam were arrested by the Maan police while they were going to Hathras in October last year. Initially, they were arrested under the apprehension of causing a breach of peace and were produced before a court of the sub-divisional magistrate which sent them to judicial custody. Subsequently, they were booked under the draconian UAPA alleging that he and his co-passengers were trying to incite communal riots and disrupt social harmony in the wake of the Hathras gangrape-murder case.

Many including the main Opposition parties, rights groups, journalist bodies and international rights watchdogs urged authorities to drop all charges against Kappan and release him immediately.

Maktoob Staff

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