Jailed Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan’s mother passes away

Ninety-year-old Khadeeja Kutty, who had been living in Malappuram district, saw Kappan in February when he was granted five days’ bail to meet her.
Siddique Kappan
Siddique Kappan
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The mother of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, jailed in Uttar Pradesh and booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), who had been ailing for long, passed away on June 18. Ninety-year-old Khadeeja Kutty, who had been living in Malappuram district, with Kappan’s wife and children, had been bedridden for a long time. In February, Siddique Kappan was granted five days bail to meet his ailing mother.

Siddique Kappan, a journalist from Kerala, was arrested with three others in October 2020, enroute to cover the alleged gangrape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. He was arrested along with three others by the UP police and is alleged to be part of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and of going to Hathras to ‘disrupt peace’. After first booking him charged with apprehension of breach of peace, the UP Police later booked him under the contentious Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA.

After being arrested in October last year, Siddique Kappan’s family had tried multiple times for a bail as his mother had expressed a wish to meet him. Though Kappan had tried to talk to the family from the prison through video call, his mother was so unwell that she was not able to recognise him. It was in February finally that the Supreme Court granted him the short bail to see his mother.

Speaking to the media on June 15 - the first time since his arrest - Kappan said that he wanted justice. He alleged that this was a ‘fake case’ against him. He spoke to the media outside a Mathura court, which, on June 15, dropped the proceedings on charges related to apprehension of breach of peace against Kappan and the three others accused as the Uttar Pradesh police failed to complete the inquiry against them within six months.

Notably, on June 15, an Uttar Pradesh court dropped charges related to apprehension of breach of peace, against Kappan and others after finding that the police failed to complete the investigation within the prescribed period of six months.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and Kappan’s wife have been fighting for Kappan to be released since October 2020. Kappan and the three other accused had been in judicial custody since April 2021.

Kappan had also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and had been admitted to a hospital in Mathura. However, the KUJW, along with his family,approached the Supreme Court against the alleged inhumane conditions Kappan was being kept in at the hospital. Finally, the apex court directed that Uttar Pradesh Police shift him to AIIMS, Delhi for treatment in April. However, Kappan was soon shifted back to Mathura jail. 

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