Former state minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader M K Muneer on Thursday expressed concern over Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan still being in jail.
“How long will the state keep punishing a young Muslim for a crime he has never done. He must be left free with immediate effect,” Muneer who is also the current Deputy Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly tweeted.
Muslim League politician’s tweet comes at a time when Siddique Kappan tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“Sad to learn that Malayali journalist Sidheeq Kappan has been hospitalised after testing Covid positive inside Mathura jail. Wish him quick recovery,” Muneer said in the tweet.
Welfare Party of India Kerala state committee has also raised serious concerns over Kappan’s health and urged Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to intervene for a better medical treatment and for the arrested scribe’s immediate release.
Kappan who was arbitrary arrested by Uttar Pradesh police last year under draconian UAPA is presently hospitalised in KM Medical College in Mathura.
Plea in Supreme Court seeks Kappan’s transfer to AIIMS Delhi
A plea has been moved by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ)before the Supreme Court seeking transfer of Kappan to All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi citing medical emergency.
The plea said that Kappan had collapsed in bathroom at the Mathura jail and later tested positive for COVID-19.
“He is presently hospitalized in KM Medical College , Mathura. It is reliably believed that, more than 50 inmates of Mathura Jail are suffering from COVID, with various of scarcities, and even drinking water from toilet, seriously affecting hygiene, health, all leading to a major disaster in the making. In short, as on today , the life of Mr. Sidhique Kappan is in danger for all reasons,” the legal website Bar & Bench quoted the plea as saying.
Thus, taking into account Kappan’s deteriorating health condition, he should be shifted to AIIMS or Safadrjung Hospital, New Delhi immediately, it was submitted.
Global journalist body raises concerns over Kappan’s health
Authorities in Uttar Pradesh should immediately release journalist Siddique Kappan from custody and allow him to freely seek medical treatment for COVID-19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Wednesday.
“We are deeply concerned by the grave risk to jailed Indian journalist Siddique Kappan’s life as he battles COVID-19,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia research associate.
“Kappan should never have been jailed in the first place, and Uttar Pradesh authorities must do the right thing and immediately release him and drop all the charges in his case,” she said.
Completes 6 months in UP jail
Kappan was arrested on 5 October 2020, along with three Muslim youths including a cab driver, while he was on his way to Hathras to report on the gang rape and death of a Dalit woman.
A five-member team of Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force (STF) filed a charge sheet against him and seven others in a Mathura court on 3 April, accusing them of sedition and allegedly attempting to incite violence in Uttar Pradesh.
A day after Kappan’s arrest on 5 October last year, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) had filed a habeas corpus petition, challenging his custody.
KUWJ argued that the arrest was illegal and unconstitutional and contended that Kappan’s detention violates his fundamental rights under articles 14 (right to equality), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
However, this habeas corpus has been pending before the Supreme Court of India for over six months now, along with his regular bail application that was filed more than five months ago.
Meanwhile, Kappan was granted a five-day interim bail to meet his ailing 90-year-old mother, earlier in February.