Siddhique and three others were detained by the Uttar Pradesh police while they were on their way to Hathras on Monday.

Journalist Siddhique Kappan is seen smiling in this image.
news Media Tuesday, October 06, 2020 - 18:04

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) on Tuesday filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Supreme Court seeking the release of New Delhi-based journalist from Kerala, Siddhique Kappan, who was detained by the Uttar Pradesh police while on his way to report on the Hathras case, where a 19-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped. The petition has asked the Supreme Court to pass directions to produce the journalist before the court and release him from illegal detention.

“The ultimate test of democracy lies in the freedom of speech and expression. The media is the breath of democracy. Denial of access to journalists to the place of news seriously connected with the dignified life of citizens for reporting is a gross violation of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India of the media persons,” the petition states.

On October 5, Siddhique and three others — Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood Ahmed and Alam — were travelling to Hathras when their vehicle was stopped at the Hathras toll plaza. Officials then seized their phones, laptops and some literature work that the police claim “could impact the peace in the area.” They then said they suspected that the four are linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and Campus Front of India.

Their detention comes in the backdrop of the UP government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court, stating that there is a conspiracy to defame the government despite a “diligent” probe. The UP police have also filed over one dozen First Information Reports (FIRs) related to the Hathras case, following multiple protests and attempts by politicians and media to go past the barricaded village and meet the 19-year-old Dalit woman’s family.

The New Delhi unit of Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) wrote to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking the release of the Kerala journalist, who works for several Malayalam media outlets, including the website Azhimukam.

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