The Uttar Pradesh government, in its counter-affidavit, filed in the case of the arrest of Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan on his way to Hathra, said to the Supreme Court that Kappan was using a journalist cover to create unrest in Hathras. He had showed an identity card of a Kerala-based newspaper Tejas, which was closed in 2018, the UP government has said.
On October 5, Kappan, a freelance journalist was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police on his way to Hathras where a Dalit woman had died after allegedly being gang-raped. Charges of criminal conspiracy to create social unrest following the Hathras incident were brought against Kappan. The UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) was also invoked against Kappan and other arrested along with him.
“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,” the affidavit said.
The state government earlier alleged that Kappan is the office secretary of Popular Front of India. The Kerala Union of Working Journalists opposed the arrest and appealed for Kappan’s bail. The UP government said the union has no locus standi as Kappan is already in touch with his advocates and relatives.
The matter came up for hearing before a bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta is appearing for Uttar Pradesh government and Kapil Sibal is representing the union.
The state government has also said that Kappan is not in “illegal custody/confinement” but is in judicial custody.
(With agency inputs)
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