Kerala: Event on Siddique Kappan’s two years in jail called off due to BJP threat

A free speech conference event scheduled on Wednesday marking journalist Siddique Kappan’s two years of incarceration got cancelled after BJP threatened to stop the event.

The event was supposed to happen at Kozhikode Town Hall, with several speakers including Member of Parliament M K Ragavan and Indian Union Muslim League leader Panakkad Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal.

The programme was organised under the banner of Pauravakasha vethi which roughly translates as civil rights group. The organizers of the event, veteran journalist N P Chekutty informed Maktoob that they have cancelled the event after police warned of law and order issues.

“Our ultimate aim is to get Siddique Kappan released. We choose to restrain from any provocative incidents that may hamper his chance to come out of jail,” Chekutty told Maktoob.

BJP Kozhikode on Tuesday threatened to stop the event citing the event was backed by PFI and organised by groups “funded by Turkey”.

In a press conference, local leaders warned that there will be implications if police give permission for the programme.

Social activist Ambika, who is also an organizer, told Maktoob that police have been contacting them since Tuesday night.

Poster of the event

“Police have been trying to persuade us to cancel the event following the protest call given by the local BJP leaders,” Ambika told Maktoob.

05 October marks two years of Kappan’s arrest from Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura on his way to report the rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Hathras. He was booked under India’s stringent terror law — UAPA.

Kappan was arrested along with the driver of their taxi, Alam and two leaders of Campus Front of India — Athikur Rehman and Masood Khan. They are accused of being a part of a conspiracy to instigate violence.

Several International human rights groups have labelled the terror charges against them “bogus”.

The Supreme Court last month granted bail to Kappan in UAPA case but he remains in jail, waiting for bail in a case related to money laundering.

Kerala lawmakers P Ubaidullah and K K Rema, veteran journalists, leaders of Kerala Union of Working Journalists and other social activists were also supposed to speak at the event.