Raihanath sat in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, seeking CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s intervention in ensuring her husband’s release from jail in UP.

Siddique Kappan family protest at the Secretariat Kerala at a protest pandalRaihanath (head covered) at the protest
news Arrest Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 20:42

“My ikka (husband) has not done anything wrong; yet, he has been in jail for the last three months. I want the Kerala Chief Minister to intervene, to talk to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and pave the way for my husband’s release,” said Raihanath as she sat in front of the Secretariat in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, seeking CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s intervention in ensuring the release of her husband, Siddique Kappan. The New Delhi-based journalist was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on October 5, on his way to Hathras to reportedly speak to the family of the 19-year-old woman who died after she was allegedly gang-raped. 

Siddique was arrested along with three others, who are allegedly part of the Popular Front of India (PFI). According to the Uttar Pradesh government, Siddique has links with PFI and was travelling to Hathras posing as a journalist as he was in possession of an old identity card of a newspaper that was shut in 2018. The police have accused PFI of instigating the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests last year. Siddique Kappan and the three others with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act) UAPA and sedition.

“Let them (the UP police) produce evidence to prove if he has done any wrong. I can’t keep silent when he is put behind bars without any evidence. I will do everything possible and react in every way possible to ensure his freedom,” Raihanath told TNM. She, along with her three children and Siddique’s brother and two sisters, travelled from their native in Malappuram district on Tuesday morning to start the sit-in protest.

NK Premachandran, the Member of Parliament from Kollam, inaugurated the protest. 

READ: Kerala journalist, three others booked in UP under UAPA, sedition charges

Siddique Kappan is currently lodged in Mathura jail. The Mathura court recently extended his judicial custody for three more months. The Supreme Court is yet to consider the habeas corpus petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ). On SC’s order on December 2 last year, his family was made a party in the plea. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will hear Siddique’s bail petition, which was filed in November, on January 22.

“If the Supreme Court stands by the truth, he will get bail. They (apparently the UP government) are trying to tighten the screw on him. They have only accusations on their part while we have the truth with us,” his wife said, adding, “I hope this kind of protest would yield some result. We will hold another protest in Malappuram before January 22.”

According to Raihanath, Siddique’s mother’s health condition is getting worse every day. “She is 90 and bed-ridden. She cries to see her son whenever she is awake. We don’t have any words to console her when she is adamant that she wants to see her son. We are trying to get permission for a video conference with her. We somehow need to show her Siddique,” she said.

Raihanath alleged that Siddique Kappan was beaten up in jail, while the other three accused were not tortured. she says. She also alleged that Siddique, who is diabetic, was not given medicine in the prison initially.

READ: Siddique Kappan case: Kerala journalists’ group seeks independent inquiry

She also claimed that the UP police forced him to testify that he was sent by the CPI(M) party if he wanted to be released. “My husband told this to me and his lawyer. The UP police also asked him why Rahul Gandhi visited our home, does he eat beef and some silly questions. They even accused him of having assets worth Rs 100 crore. But those who see our house would know if we have crores or not,” she said, adding that her family is surviving with the support of both Kappan’s families and neighbours.

Raihanath had held a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram in November as well, urging the CM to intervene in the case to make the release of Kappan possible.

Kappan’s elder brother Hamsa also urges intervention of the CM. “The Chief Minister had earlier said he would not be able to intervene as it is a matter outside the state. Still, we hope that he will intervene,” he said. 

READ: It’s a fabricated case: Wife of Kerala journalist Siddique booked under UAPA tells TNM



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