UP court defers STF plea for custody of journalist Siddique and others to Nov 4

Four men including journalist Siddique Kappan were booked under sedition and other charges on their way to Hathras where a young Dalit woman was allegedly raped and murdered.
Journalist Siddique Kappan
Journalist Siddique Kappan
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A court in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura has deferred a plea by the state’s Special Task Force (STF) for the remand of four men including Delhi-based Malayali journalist Siddique Kappan, booked under sedition and other charges. They were arrested last month when they were on their way to Hathras, where a young Dalit woman was allegedly raped and murdered.

Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Anju Rajput has deferred the application moved by the STF for police custody sought by them to November 4, APO Brijmohan Singh said.

He said that earlier Deputy Superintendent of Police (STF) Rakesh Paliwal had moved the application for taking the four men on police custody remand.

Siddique Kappan has not filed any bail application so far. The other accused in the case are Aalam, Masood and Atiqur Rahman.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the IT Act were also filed against the four men, who were accused by the state police of having links with the Popular Front of India (PFI).

The UP government had accused PFI members for instigating violence during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests earlier in the year.

The four men were arrested from a toll plaza in Mathura as they were heading to Hathras district to visit the victim's native village.

Citing a Supreme Court ruling, Madhuban Dutt Chaturvedi, counsel for the three accused including Masood, said any attempt by the STF to take Atiqur Rahman, Aalam, Masood and Kappan into police remand may not succeed as police can interrogate them in jail only now while adding that everything would depend on the judgement by the CJM on November 4.

Last Friday, the court had also been requested to allow Masood to appear in a JRF examination under police custody as it is slated for November 5 in Lucknow, the counsel added.

The magistrate has also adjourned the case related to this request till November 4, Chaturvedi said.

The Hathras incident that witnessed nationwide outrage involved a 19-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly raped at a village in the district by four men on September 14. She later died in a Delhi hospital on September 29.

She was then cremated in her native village with her family alleging the local police forcefully conducted the last rites in the dead of the night.

(With PTI input)

Watch: Kerala journalists protest the arrest of Siddique Kappan

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