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Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan released after 28 months from UP jail Siddique Kappan
Image Credit: Social Media

Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan released after 28 months from UP jail

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 02 Feb 2023, 03:45 pm

Lucknow/IBNS: Siddique Kappan, a journalist from Kerala, arrested while reporting the death of a young woman after being allegedly gang raped in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras two years ago, was finally released from a jail in Lucknow on Thursday.

Kappan had to remain in jail even after receiving bail in two cases filed against him—a sedition case with charges under the tough anti-terror law UAPA and a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate in February 2022 accusing him of receiving money from the banned People's Front of India.

He said the last two years were tough for him but he would “continue the fight against the draconian laws”.

“They kept me in jail even after I got bail... 28 months after a long fight. I don't know who's benefiting from my being in jail,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Police arrested Kappan in October 2020 while he was on his way to Hathras to report on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman.

In September 2020, the Supreme Court granted Kappan bail after observing that no formal charges were filed against him and a document named "Toolkit" recovered by the state police only propagated a call for justice in the rape case.

Three months later, he got bail in the money laundering case. But his release was held up due to multiple bureaucratic lapses, according to the NDTV report.

Following mass outrage over the incident, tense gripped the area and at the time the administration had barred political parties and media from reaching victim’s village.

According to reports, the 19-year-old Dalit woman had died at Delhi's Safdarjung hospital on Sept 29, a fortnight after her alleged rape at the hands of four upper-caste men. She was cremated in the middle of the night in her village by the district administration, sparking accusations of a cover-up and widespread condemnation of the Yogi Adityanath government.

All four accused in the incident were arrested.

The Uttar Pradesh government had formed an SIT on October 7 to investigate an alleged conspiracy to incite ethnic and communal riots in the state on the pretext of the Hathras incident.

A statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) had said, "Large funding and conspiracies were done to discredit the Yogi government from all Islamic countries, including Pakistan, the UAE and Bangladesh. Along with spreading fake information, edited photographs and rumours, a big effort was made to spread ethnic and communal riots in the state by inciting the victim's circuit.”

The CMO also said that the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is already interrogating the arrested members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) in this case.

The opposition and civil society groups had slammed Kappan's arrest as by the Uttar Pradesh government. They alleged that he was incarcerated to avoid negative coverage over the incident in Hathras and said it was a case of the BJP government trying to muzzle the media.