The Supreme Court has been petitioned for an immediate intervention to release Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan from Mathura Medical College to Mathura Jail ‘as his life is in extreme danger.”
“The wife of Siddique Kappan, came to know that…Kappan is chained like an animal in a cot of the Medical College Hospital, Mathura, without mobility, and he neither could take food, nor could go to toilet for the last more than 4 days, and is very critical,” read the plea by Advocate Wills Mathews.
The plea comes at a time when Siddique Kappan tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was admitted to the hospital in Mathura.
If immediate corrective steps are not taken, it will result in his untimely death, says the plea which was titled as “Most urgent/life in danger/pending Habeas Corpus matter.”
It was directly sent to the newly appointed Chief Justice of India, Justice NV Ramana.
The plea further says: “Despite having knowledge about the procedure established by law for mentioning , I am forced to approach your lordship directly, being an issue arising out of a Habeas Corpus petition pending more than 6 months, believing “Justice is above all, and even laws, rules and guidelines bend before it”. Importantly, media is the breath of democracy, and it is an attempt for giving breath to a media person, who is in jail for the last more than 6 months, and the Habeas Corpus petition also pending since 06.10.2020. The representation given to Jail Superintendent Mathura by message pending.”
“He called me today from somebody’s phone. He told me that the hospital authorities are not allowing him to go to the toilet. He is handcuffed to the bed and is not allowed to move. He is urinating in a plastic bottle. He is a human being. He has to go to the toilet too, right,” Raihanath, wife of Siddique Kaappan told The Week on Saturday.
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.