On Monday, the Supreme Court of India granted interim bail to Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, allowing him to meet his 90-year-old ailing mother. The apex court granted bail, instructing that that Kappan has to abide by the rigid conditions.
“It is submitted that the mother is said to be in a critical situation and that she is likely not to survive for many days. In these circumstances, we consider it appropriate to permit Kappan to visit his mother and return to prison at the end of the 5th day,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said while issuing the order.
The Court said that the police officials would escort Kappan on his visit to Kerala, while instructing Kappan not to talk to news media, post on social media, and cannot meet anyone except his relatives, doctors or others connected with his mother’s health. The SC added that the Uttar Pradesh police are responsible for Kappan’s travel and return.
Kappan’s mother, Khadija Kutty is reportedly unconscious and admitted to a Malappuram hospital. Last month, his lawyer Kapil Sibal argued that Kappan’s mother was ill and requested to speak to her son. “Before his mother passes away, please allow video conferencing so that he can talk to his mother,” Sibal pleaded and the Court permitted Kappan to talk to his mother via conference. However, since she was unconscious he could not talk to her.
Kappan and three others were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh 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. He was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Sedition. Recently, Kappan was charged under the Money Laundering Act as well, based on the findings of the Enforcement Directorate.
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 closed down in 2018. Moreover, the government affidavit claimed that the group planned to “create caste divide” in Hathras, as they were carrying flyers and posters for the purpose.