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National

Kerala man went to Hathras under ‘garb of journalism’: Cops

November 21, 2020 05:40 AM

COURTESY HT NOV 21

Kerala man went to Hathras under ‘garb of journalism’: Cops
Abraham Thomas

letters@hindustantimes.com

New Delhi : Siddique Kappan, the Kerala journalist arrested on his way to Hathras on October 5, was going there under the “garb of journalism”, the Uttar Pradesh police said in the Supreme Court, which allowed the journalist to meet his lawyers but expressed displeasure at the way the case has been reported in media.

The affidavit also said Kappan is the office secretary of radical Muslim outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) who used an identity card of a Kerala-based newspaper Tejas, which expired in 2018, to gain entry with three others into Hathras, the state told the top court.

The UP district was roiled by the death of a 19-year old Dalit woman who succumbed to injuries sustained during a gang rape and assault.

The state affidavit said, “It is revealed during investigation that he along with other PFI activists and their student wing (Campus Front of India) leaders were going to Hathras under the garb of journalism with a very determined design to create a caste divide and disturb law and order situation were found carrying incriminating material.”

Kappan’s arrest was challenged in a writ petition filed under Article 32 by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ). The petition claimed that Kappan was untraceable and no lawyer was being allowed to meet him.

Responding to this, the UP government affidavit filed by Shailendra Kumar Maitrey, the Senior Superintendent of Jail, Mathura District, stated that a team of lawyers from Delhi arrived at Mathura when Kappan’s remand application was argued. Two of his family members were informed soon after an FIR was lodged against him on October 7.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the state, told a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde that the petition was based on falsehood and should be dismissed. Mehta added that instead of Supreme Court, the KUWJ should approach the Allahabad high court. The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian confronted the petitioner with the facts stated by the UP. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for the petitioner, stated that he had received no affidavit.

In the course of the hearing CJI Bobde termed as unfair media reports that claimed the apex court was not granting Kappan relief. Several comparisons were made following the last hearing of the case, between the way the court was treating Kappan’s case and the immediate relief it gave another journalist, Arnab Goswami, recently. “There was very unfair reporting about our earlier order. The reports said that the journalist was refused relief,” he added.

Advocate Wills Mathews, representing Kappan on behalf of KUWJ, told HT: “I have gone through the contents of the affidavit filed on behalf of the UP government. I am shocked. I will be meeting Siddique Kappan in jail tomorrow and decide the course of action. The KUWJ will definitely file its response in the apex court

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