Wednesday, April 24, 2024

“She kept asking about her son.” Family, activists mourn death of Siddique Kappan’s mother

Kappan, who was arrested and jailed by the Uttar Pradesh police while on his way to cover the killing of Dalit woman at Hathras, couldn’t meet his mother for the last time

“Mother’s health was better when he (Siddique Kappan) came home once to meet her. But it worsened when he was taken back to jail” said Raihana Siddique, wife of arrested Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan.

Her responses came two days after incarcerated journalist Kappan’s mother Khadeeja Kutty, 91, died at her house in Kerala on Friday. She was suffering from prolonged illness.

“She was staying with us until Kappan was arrested. Later mother was shifted to her elder son’s home. She kept on asking whoever came there whether they could make her meet her son,” said Raihana. The ailing mother didn’t know that her son was in jail under draconian charges, according to Raihana.

She was speaking in a Clubhouse room titled ‘Remembering Siddique Kappan’s mother’ with over more than 500 people.

“He called me when she breathed her last. I didn’t have any words to tell him” Raihana added.

Kappan, who was arrested and jailed by the Uttar Pradesh police while on his way to cover the killing of Dalit woman at Hathras, couldn’t meet his mother for the last time. Even though his advocate advised him to apply for an immediate bail plea, he refused. He didn’t want to prolong the burial of his mother.

Kappan and his mother.

Kappan, secretary of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) in Delhi was arrested under the draconian UAPA and slapped with sedition charges.

Kappan had visited his ailing mother briefly in February after the Supreme Court granted him five days bail, which included his to-and-fro travel from Mathura Jail to his residence in Kerala’s Malappuram district.

The founder and supremo of Kerala based People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Islamic scholar Abdul Nasir Maudany said that the demise of Kappan’s mother Khadeeja Kutty reminded him of his grand mother during his jail days.

Maudany who was named as the 32nd accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blast case and lives out of jail now, went on to say that he can understand the extent of mental stress and torture that Kappan is going through in jail.

In 2014, the apex court had granted Maudany bail on the ground that he had already undergone judicial custody for four years since August 2010 and was suffering from various health ailments. 

Recollecting the haunting memories of his days in prison, Maudani said that “My grandmother passed away when I was in prison. There were 167 prisoners who were charged along with me in the same case. But everyone except me was granted parole to meet their family. I was not even allowed to get out of the jail compound. I never got a chance to see my grandmother for the last time.”

While remembering Kappan’s mother, he went on to explain what all happened to his family during his tenure in Coimbatore and Bangalore jails. “ When I was about to be arrested for the second time, my father went to all the MLAs and MPs to collect signatures and to pass it to the President of India. But on the way, he collapsed due to a stroke. After my arrest, my mother too fell sick due to lung cancer. But unlike Kappan, I got at least a chance to be with her during her last times.”

He further opined that, in the cases of Siddique Kappan and many others, people may see them as accused. But as long as they believe their innocence before their conscience, nothing else matters. “When our country is going through such a dangerous situation, it is a great thing itself to know that they are alive even though they are in jail,” adds Maudany.

Gopal Menon, an acclaimed filmmaker and activist said that Kappan’s case mirrors many other cases like G.N.Saibaba, Ansar Naqvi and Natasha Narwhal who were denied a chance to meet their dears for the last time.

Meanwhile, Kappan’s Bail plea, which was taken up today by the Mathura local court was adjourned to July 5. His Counsel argued before the Court that his mother had died on June 18 and he be released on bail as he is innocent.

Haneena PA
Haneena PA
Haneena PA is a media student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and a freelance journalist.
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