Launching a protest to release Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who recently tested positive for the coronavirus and is under treatment at a hospital in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on Monday urged that the journalist be shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi for treatment. Chennithala was speaking at a protest organised by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) Thiruvananthapuram district committee, and said that it is the basic responsibility of the government to provide him better treatment.
On April 25, Sunday, Kappanâ€™s wife Raihanath wrote to the Chief Justice of India, alleging that her husband is tied to his hospital bed, unable to take food or use the toilet for four days. She asked the CJI to shift him from the KM Medical College and Hospital in Uttar Pradeshâ€™s Mathura, immediately. On April 22, the KUWJ had filed a petition with the Supreme Court, requesting Kappan to be shifted to AIIMS. Kappan is a diabetes patient and his family has been raising concerns about his health since the initial days of his imprisonment. Kappan tested positive for the coronavirus on April 21. He is currently under treatment at KM Medical College and Hospital in Mathura.
"I tried calling Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday but he wasn't available, I will try to speak to him today. I will raise the matter with the Congress leadership too. It is a basic responsibility of the government to provide better treatment for him. He should be urgently shifted to the AIIMS," Chennithala said. "No other journalist in India should undergo the same experience," he added.
"His wife told me over the phone that he has been tortured by denying treatment. How cruel is that, this is an act of human rights violation. It's the responsibility of the UP government to provide him better treatment. Why hasnâ€™t the UP government taken a humanitarian approach on this?" Chennithala alleged.
On Sunday, April 25, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also wrote to UP CM Yogi Adityanath, urging Kappan to be shifted to a super specialty hospital.
Kappan is a Delhi-based journalist who was freelancing for Azhimukham, a Malayalam news portal. He was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on October 5, 2020 while he was en-route to cover the alleged gangrape of a young Dalit woman by dominant-caste men in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. Kappan, along with three others â€” Atiq-ur-Rehman, Masood Ahmad and Alam â€” have been charged with the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other serious charges by the Uttar Pradesh police.