Mathura Court Rejects Journalist Siddique Kappan's Bail Application, Calls His Work "Communally Sensitive"
By: Mahak Arora
A Mathura court rejected journalist Siddiqui Kappan’s bail plea on Tuesday, observing the Uttar Pradesh police’s allegations that the Malayali journalist is linked with banned outfits Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Popular Front of India (PFI), PTI reported.
According to LiveLaw, while arguing for bail, Kappan’s lawyer advocate Wills Mathew pointed out that the journalist was on his way to Hathras to carry out his professional assignment. He even denied Kappan had links with PFI, as alleged by the UP police. “There was no evidence to establish the charges registered against him [Kappan],” he said.
However, the judge relied upon the police’s version of events to reject Mathew’s submissions and described Kappan’s articles written for Kerala based news website Azhimukham, as “communally sensitive”. In the police report of Kappan’s arrest, it is mentioned that he was wearing the ID card of the now-defunct Tejas TV at that time.
Kappan will now have to file a bail application before the Allahabad High Court for relief.
Kappan was arrested with eight alleged PFI members, including Atikur Rahman, Mohammad Alam and Masood Ahmed, on October 5, 2020, at the Mant toll plaza, on the Yamuna Expressway. He was going from Delhi to Hathras to cover the alleged gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old.
They were accused of conspiring to disturb peace under the guise of reporting on the Hathras incident. The police had allegedly recovered objectionable posters and other material from the accused’s vehicle, thereby facilitating the arrest.
The investigation of this case was given to UP police’s Special Task Force (STF). The STF arrested KA Rauf, an alleged member of the PFI from Kerala, along with rebel commanders Ansad Badruddin and Firoz Khan with explosives. The STF alleges that the accused received foreign funding in large quantities after the Hathras incident, and they were conspiring to incite riots.
Since Kappan’s arrest, many eminent journalists and journalism groups/guilds have been raising their voices on social media in his favour. The Editors Guild of India outright accused the UP police of implicating the Muslim journalist on false charges. Senior journalists such as Raghu Karnad and Dhanya Rajendran also concur with this version.
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