A UP court in Mathura on 13 December, transferred the case registered against Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and seven other Muslim men under draconian Sedition and UAPA in the alleged Hathras conspiracy case to a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Lucknow.
Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan along with Campus Front of India leaders and students Atiqur Rahman and Masud Ahmed, and a Delhi-based cab driver Mohammad Alam have been in jail since last year. They all were arrested on 5 October last year while going to Hathras to meet the family of a Dalit woman who was murdered and raped by upper-caste Hindus. Three Muslim youths Campus Front of India leader Rauf Shareef, Popular Front of India workers in Kerala Ansad Badruddin, and Firoz Khan were also arrested in December last year.
“The case is under the UAPA charge among charges. There is a designated court for UAPA cases in states. So far, UP didn’t have a designated court for the cases under UAPA. Now, the Lucknow NIA court has been designated as the UAPA court for the state. The cases against the eight people, including Kappan, have been transferred to the NIA court in Lucknow.” UP Special Task Force (STF) Additional Director General Amitabh Yash said.
“We had told the local court in Mathura about the NIA court in Lucknow being designated for UAPA cases, so the court transferred the case on Monday,” he added.
Kappan’s lawyer Wills Mathews while responding to the new development, said: “We are looking into the technicalities of the case.”
Back in September this year, a Contempt plea has been moved before the Supreme Court by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists alleging violation of arrested journalist Siddique Kappan’s ‘medical rights’ at the hands of Uttar Pradesh government officials.
UP STF filed a nearly 5,000-page chargesheet against Kappan and seven other Muslim youth, charging them with sedition and conspiring to incite caste violence, among others, following the Hathras gangrape and murder.
The family members of all eight Muslim men had held multiple protests ever since they got arrested by the UP police, seeking justice for them.