Raihanath Siddique, wife of New Delhi-based Malayali journalist Siddique Kappan, has sought Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s intervention for her husband’s release. Mr. Kappan is in a Mathura jail at present after the Uttar Pradesh police booked him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on October 5 while he was on his way to report the rape and murder of a girl in Hathras.
She told the media here on Tuesday that the family would stage a dharna in Thiruvananthapuram in the first week of January, raising the demand. Ms. Siddique claimed that the U.P. government had tried to humiliate the Delhi unit of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), when it sought bail for him in the Supreme Court. Mr. Kappan is the secretary of the unit.
“The police asked him to confess that he had gone to Hathras following the direction of CPI(M) leaders. Mr. Kappan was also beaten up demanding that he throw the names of two CPI(M) MPs,” said Ms. Siddique. They asked him why had he had gone to U.P. from Kerala, and why he was interested in covering the issues of Muslims and Dalits. The next hearing is on January 22.
The police arraigned him as a Popular Front of India activist having links with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India since Mr. Kappan did not oblige to their demand, said Ms. Siddique. He was also accused of conspiring to engineer riots in Delhi following protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“These are all fabricated stories. They are coming up with new stories every day. Initially there was a story on his links with a website, then some thing on a ₹100-crore transaction, and now the story is on some ₹2.5 crore,” she said. She claimed that an inspection of his bank accounts would help uncover the truth.
“He is just another journalist who wanted to cover a human rights violation in Hathras. He is not part of the PFI or the CFI or any political party. Mr. Kappan knows leaders of all political parties as a journalist,” claimed Ms. Siddique. When the family approached the Chief Minister’s Office seeking help, they were told that since the arrest happened in another State, the Kerala government could not interfere in the case, she said.