A local court at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh Tuesday denied bail to Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan. The Additional Sessions Judge, Anil Kumar Pandey, refused bail to Kappan on the ground that a prima facie case against him was made out.
The Judge, based on the findings of the Police, said that the journalist was in touch with the Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI), a banned terror outfit. Literature associated with the organisation was found in possession along with some articles written for a Kerala-based website Azhimukham. The articles recovered from his laptop were described as “communally sensitive”.
The Judge said that the accused had received foreign funding along with the co-accused to promote enmity among communities in India. The Judge also noted that the identity card found with him was of an organisation that had ceased its operation way back in 2018.
He was arrested along with others nine months ago when he was en route to cover gang rape and murder of a 19-year old Dalit woman in Hathras. He was labelled by the Police as a member of the Popular Front of India(PFI), an outfit not banned but said to be the successor of SIMI. He is charged with various offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA) and apprehension of breach of peace. The charge of apprehension of breach of the peace was later dropped by the court on June 15.
Kappan has maintained his innocence from day one, stating that the charges against him are completely fabricated. His wife Raihanath and the Kerala Union for Working Journalists(KUWJ) have been fighting for his release since his arrest in October last year.
Earlier in April, he contacted Covid-19 and was allowed treatment in All India Institute of Medical science(AIIMS), Delhi after KUWJ appealed to the Supreme Court. But even then, the court refused to grant him interim bail and was transferred back to Mathura Jail post his recovery. He lost his 90-year old mother last month while being lodged in jail.
The bail denial came a day after Father Stan Swamy, also charged under UAPA, lost his life after being denied medical bail multiple times.