‘UP police claims are lies,’ says Reihana after speaking with husband Siddique Kappan

In an interview with The NationWide, Reihana Kappan tells us about her husband’s current situation and about the Uttar Pradesh police claims
Reihana Kappan
Reihana Kappan

“The claims purported by the UP police against my husband are lies,” claims Siddique Kappan’s wife Reihana. “My husband is a journalist contrary to what the police claims,” she added with confidence. The Uttar Pradesh police had claimed that Siddique had arrived at Hathras “under the garb of journalism” with “an ulterior motive”.

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Reihana said that she had been able to contact Siddique last evening, as the latter called her. She added that the Superintendent had given his mobile to Siddique to call Reihana. She also explained that Siddique was allowed to meet his lawyer and they talked for around 45 minutes. The next hearing is on December 1.

Siddique Kappan, and three others, was arrested by UP police on October 5, while he was on his way to Hathras to report on the brutal rape of a Dalit girl by upper-caste men. The police had claimed that he was a member of the Popular Front of India and that he had used the identity card of a Kerala-based newspaper (Tejas), which apparently closed down in 2018. Moreover, the govt affidavit claimed that their plan to “create caste divide” in Hathras, as they were carrying flyers and posters for the purpose.

It took almost a month and a half, and the arrest and bail hearing of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, to get Siddique a fair chance at trial. The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), their lawyer, and Reihana had alleged that the UP police hadn’t allowed Siddique to meet or contact them. In fact, they alleged that the jail officers hadn’t allowed Siddique to sign a ‘vakalatnama’ — a document that empowers a lawyer to act for and on behalf of his client.

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However, now the situation has changed. The lawyer, Wills Mathew, had told an online portal that he was allowed to meet Siddique, and the latter signed the vakalatnama. Moreover, Mathew added that the jail authorities were very supportive and cooperative. Reihana also mentioned that Siddique had told her that he is doing better now and that the condition is far better than the one in the temporary holding at a school. “He has diabetes and had a small issue with high sugar. They tested him last Monday. He is better now,” she said, adding that the current jailer is okay.

She notes that the arguments presented by the UP government are lies: “complete lies”, she emphasises. Speaking about the govt’s argument that he was using journalism as a garb, she said that the allegations are false. “He is a journalist and has been reporting for Azhimukham (a Kerala-based news portal). He is also a member of the KUWJ,” she noted. Siddique is KUWJ’s Delhi Secretary and is a distinguished journalist with almost a decade of experience. Siddique has had his articles published in Azhimukham since January this year. Reihana also denied the police claim that he was a member of the Popular Front of India.

The NationWide