Thursday, May 23, 2024

Journalist Siddique Kappan remains in jail for another Eid

Jailed Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan couldn’t call on Saturday, the eve of Eid ul-Adha, leaving his family a little worried. His wife, Raihanath Kappan, hopes he will be able to call on Sunday. But she only expects bitterness from that call.

This will be his third Eid in jail.

In a couple of days, Raihanath will go to Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow to pay him a visit and sign some legal documents. She won’t be taking any of the three children, as the family can’t afford the soaring flight ticket prices.

“We are holding on,” Raihanath whimpered. Kappan has asked for something “homemade” as his hope of getting out of jail has become bleak.

“He gets overwhelmed when we meet and end up not eating anything,” Raihanath told Maktoob.

Hailing from Malappuram district of Kerala, Kappan was picked up by UP police on 05 October 2020, while he was on his way to Hathras to report the alleged gangrape and murder of a young Dalit woman in a village by upper-caste Hindu men.

Among with Kappan, two student leaders of Campus Front of India and the driver of the cab in which they were travelling were booked under UAPA in the Hathras conspiracy case.

They are facing charges that include sedition, conspiracy to incite violence, outraging religious feelings and terrorism charges.

Media organisations and human rights groups across the world have demanded Kappan’s release, condemning India’s crackdown on journalists. The majority of the critics of the Hindu nationalist government believe he was “framed” because he is a Muslim.

The 5000-page chargesheet against him says that in the writing, the “Muslims have been portrayed as victims were beaten up by police and were asked to go to Pakistan”.

“These writings of Siddique Kappan, to a great extent, can be classified as communal,” says the chargesheet.

“During riots, taking the name of a minority and talking about events related to them can incite sentiments. Responsible journalists do not do such communal reporting. Kappan only and only reports to incite Muslims, which is a hidden agenda of PFI [Popular Front of India]. Some stories were written to sympathise with Maoists and Communists.”

The 42-year-old was working in an online Malayalam news portal called Azhimukham when he was arrested. He was also an office-bearer of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists Delhi chapter.

“His matter is taking time to be listed in court. All of it is upsetting,” Raihanath laments. The arrest has devastated the family.

Occasional tailoring work for Raihanath and a meme page run by her elder son, Muzzamil is the only source of income for the family.

“We are just staring at what we have become,” she added.

Shaheen Abdulla
Shaheen Abdulla
Shaheen Abdulla, an award-winning journalist, is the Deputy Editor of Maktoob.
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