After addressing the affidavit filed by the Uttar Pradesh government, the Supreme Court has adjourned the matter of Siddique Kappan’s immediate release to the third week of January. After Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, requested time to address the additional affidavit filed by the UP government, the SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde adjourned the matter.
In their affidavit, the UP government has raised serious allegations against the KUWJ and has repeated their stance on Kappan. The government affidavit questioned whether the KUWJ’s intention to protect Kappan is bonafide, adding that the organisation has been facing a Vigilance inquiry for “embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.”
Further reiterating their stance that Kappan was a Popular Front of India member, who came to Hathras under the “garb of journalism,” they produced two pieces of information to the attention of the Supreme Court.
Firstly, they argued that Kappan was carrying an “identity card” of the PFI’s mouthpiece, Tejas. They submitted that the now-discontinued magazine had “sought to create religious disharmony and even claimed that Osama Bin Laden was a martyr”. The government added that all the editors of the paper were executive members of PFI. However, the “identity card” they submitted is nothing more than a visiting card.
Secondly, Enforcement Directorate arrested KA Rauf Sharif, the General Secretary of Campus Front of India, for suspicious transactions in his bank accounts. Moreover, the ED had submitted in a Court in Kochi that Rauf had funded the Hathras trip of Delhi-based journalist Siddique Kappan and three others. Under this basis, the UP government had further reiterated their stance and questioned KUWJ’s intention of wanting to “protect and cover up his real identity”.