Siddique Kappan’s wife Raihanath and KUWJ had revealed the inhumane conditions under which the journalist is being treated at Mathura hospital in Uttar Pradesh.

From left: Siddique Kappan, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
news Law Sunday, April 25, 2021 - 19:58

For the first time since journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police in October 2020, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has intervened in the matter. Following reports of Siddique Kappan, a native of Malappuram district in Kerala, not receiving good medical treatment at a hospital in Mathura, Pinarayi Vijayan shot a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, asking him to take measures to provide expert treatment facilities for the journalist.

The move comes after Siddique Kappan’s wife Raihanath and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) approached the Supreme Court, revealing the inhumane conditions under which Siddique Kappan is being treated at Mathura Hospital in Uttar Pradesh. The journalist had collapsed in the bathroom at the Mathura prison last week. He sustained injuries and was tested positive for coronavirus too. However, in a letter to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, his wife said that Siddique Kappan was chained to the hospital bed and was not being allowed to even use the toilet. Both Raihanath and KUWJ requested the apex court to allow the journalist to be shifted to another hospital for better treatment.

“It has come to my attention that Siddique Kappan, a journalist from Kerala, presently in custody under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, is facing severe health problems,” CM Pinarayi wrote in the letter. “It is reported that he is having diabetes and heart ailments. After getting COVID-19, he has been admitted to KVM Hospital, Mathura. He is reportedly being kept chained to his bed even when his health condition is precarious. I request your good self to intervene in the matter so that humane treatment is accorded to Kappan,” Pinarayi Vijayan said.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan also added that expert facilities should be ensured to Kappan and that shifting him to a super-speciality hospital, where modern life-saving facilities are ensured, should be seriously considered. “People in general, and the media fraternity in particular, are anxious to know about his predicament and humans rights and are very much concerned about his plight. I request you to make sure that he gets all medical facilities,” Pinarayi Vijayan added in the letter to Yogi Adityanath.

Although Pinarayi Vijayan sought UP CM's intervention in ensuring medical assistance to Siddique Kappan, he has not said anything about Yogi Adityanath's intervention in ensuring a fair trial of the case.

Siddique Kappan, a Delhi-based Kerala journalist, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police last October, while he was on the way to Hathras to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped, and murdered. The Uttar Pradesh arrested him, accused him of having links with the Popular Front of India (PFI) and charged him under the draconian UAPA.

Siddique’s family had stated that he was not being able to take food for the past few days and that prison officials are not keeping them informed about his condition. “He is not being allowed to use toilets since he is tied to a cot. They have provided him with a bottle to pass urine. Isn’t he a human?,” Siddique wife Raihanath said in her letter to the CJI on Sunday.

Raihanath had also slammed Pinarayi Vijayan for not intervening in Siddique Kappan’s matter, despite six months after his arrest. She had pointed out that it was time that the Kerala CM intervened since the state Assembly election was over.

Incidentally, Siddique Kappan’s family had previously sought CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s intervention in the matter. However, according to Kappan’s elder brother Hamsa, the Kerala CM had said he would not be able to intervene as it was a matter outside the state.

Meanwhile, 11 Members of Parliaments of the Congress and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) also wrote a letter to CJI NV Ramana, seeking his intervention in the matter urgently.

"Unable to consume food and with a denied right to a toilet for four days, he has become extremely weak. It is shocking beyond words that such grave violation of human rights is happening in our India, a democracy. We beseech you, Sir, as the guardian of our Constitution, to examine this matter time sensitively and to provide interim relief to Siddique Kappan until the disposal of his Habeus Corpus application," the MPs wrote.

The letter is signed by MPs K Sudhakaran, K Muraleedharan, ET Mohammed Basheer, VK Sreekandan, Remya Haridas, Benny Behanan, TN Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose, Anto Antony, NK Premachandran and PV Abdul Wahab.

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