As the investigation of the UAPA case against Siddique Kappan progresses at a snail’s pace, the Kerala Union Working Journalists have sought an independent judicial enquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge. The enquiry is to determine the validity of the Uttar Pradesh police claims as well as the facts associated with the alleged illegal arrest and detainment of Kappan.
In this case, the KUWJ made the demands in a rejoinder affidavit filed against the UP government’s counter-affidavit. The organisation filed the rejoinder through Advocate Shree Pal Singh, and in it, they have noted that the UP police’s claim against Kappan is “false and frivolous.”
“Considering the seriousness of the false and frivolous allegations against Kappan, his continuous illegal detention for 56 days, implicating him in UAPA, and other allegedly serious offences based on some newspaper reports, the Deponent seeks an independent enquiry by a retired Judge of this Hon’ble Court to determine the facts connected with the illegal arrest and detention of accused,” the rejoinder states.
The KUWJ, in their statement, points out that the UP police had wrongly reported the time of the arrest as 4:50 pm when in fact, they arrested Kappan at 10:20 am. They added that there is video evidence that will establish the truth. Moreover, the journalist organisation has noted that the UP police’s claims of recovering “incriminating materials and pamphlets” are false as well. The statement also alleges that Kappan had faced custody violence at the hands of UP police. The statement adds that he was beaten with a lathi, slapped, dragged, forced to stay awake, blocked healthcare, and caused mental torture.
The UP police had arrested Siddique Kappan while he was on his way to Hathras to report on a Dalit woman who was raped and killed by a group of upper-caste men. The police had claimed that Kappan had used the garb of journalism when he indeed had arrived there with ulterior motives. They added that they had “uncovered” information that Kappan was a member of the Popular Front of India, but the KUWJ website clarifies that he is the Secretary of their outside Kerala unit. He has also been writing for a Kerala-based news organisation since last January, but the police had claimed that he presented the identity card of a newspaper that has closed down.