Siddique Kappan in jail for six months
Malayalam journalist Siddique Kappan, arrested in October while on his way to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras to report on the gang rape and murder of a Dalit girl, completed six months in custody on Wednesday, locked up in a Mathura jail on stringent anti-terror charges.
While the prosecution recently filed a chargesheet running into nearly 5,500 pages in a Mathura district court, Kappan’s family back home in Kerala is keeping their fingers crossed waiting for the Supreme Court to list a habeas corpus plea and hear a regular bail application. While the habeas corpus plea was filed a day after his arrest, the bail application was submitted a month later.
Neither Kappan’s lawyer nor his family have any clue about the contents of the chargesheet since it’s in Hindi. They are waiting for it to be translated into English.
Kappan was arrested on October 5, 2020, along with three others while on their way to Hathras district. The secretary of the Delhi unit of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), Kappan is a retainer with the Malayalam news portal azhimukham.com.
It was the KUWJ that had filed the habeas corpus petition and assigned a Delhi-based lawyer to fight the case in the Supreme Court. Advocate Wills Mathew, who is representing the KUWJ, told The Telegraph that he would like to study the contents of the chargesheet before making any comments.
“I am getting it translated by another lawyer and hope to get the English version in a day or two. I am sure Kappan is innocent,” Mathew said.
But even Mathew had no answer on the delay in the apex court listing the habeas corpus petition. “Usually habeas corpus pleas are taken up in a maximum of two weeks. We hope it would be taken up without any more delay and the bail plea that was adjourned would be heard too,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh police slapped provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other penal sections against the men for trying to foment law and order trouble in Hathras. Kappan has denied all the charges.