UP govt to SC: PFI member Kappan operated under journalist cover

Nov 20, 2020
New Delhi:The Uttar Pradesh government has informed the Supreme Court that Siddique Kappan is the office secretary of Popular Front of India (PFI) and was using a journalist’s cover by showing the identity card of a Kerala-based newspaper named Tejas which closed down in 2018.

The affidavit filed by the government said it was revealed “during investigation that he, along with other PFI activists and their student wing leaders were going to Hathras under the garb of journalism with a determined design to create caste divide and disturb law and order.”

The UP government said the police informed Kappan’s brother and his maternal uncle about his arrest. The affidavit said: “At the outset, it is stated no family member of the accused has approached the jail authorities till date for meeting the accused.”

The affidavit also added that till date no lawyer has approached the jail authorities with a vakalatnama to be signed by Kappan, and during the judicial custody he had also interacted with his family members on three occasions.

The response from UP government came on the plea filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) in the Supreme Court claiming Kappan was illegally confined. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing KUWJ, told his client first went to the magistrate seeking permission to meet Kappan, who asked them to move the jail authorities. Later, when they went to jail authorities they asked them to go to the magistrate. “The magistrate told us to go to the Supreme Court”, submitted Sibal during the hearing on Friday.

The KUWJ had filed a habeas corpus petition seeking immediate release of Kappan and cited violation of Articles 14, 19 and 21. The plea claimed that on October 5, Kappan was arrested at the Toll Plaza near Hathras. He was on the way to report on the alleged rape and death of a 19-year-old girl in Hathras.

The plea filed through advocate Wills Mathews termed the arrest as illegal and unconstitutional. The journalist has been charged under the anti-terror law UAPA or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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