Although Siddique Kappan tested positive for coronavirus on May 2, the Mathura police shifted him back to the Mathura jail from AIIMS on May 7.

Siddique Kappans wife files contempt plea against UP govt for shifting him from AIIMS
news Law Sunday, May 09, 2021 - 17:57

Journalist Siddique Kappan’s wife filed a contempt of court petition against the Uttar Pradesh government after he was shifted back to the Mathura jail from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), in violation of the Supreme Court directive. Siddique Kappan, who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police in October 2020, has been unwell even before he tested positive for coronavirus on April 21. In the petition filed in the Supreme Court on Sunday, his wife Raihanath Kappan sought the court to give direction to immediately take her husband back to AIIMS in an ambulance with doctors’ support.

Based on the Supreme Court’s directive on April 28, the Mathura official in Uttar Pradesh had shifted Siddique Kappan from the Mathura medical college hospital to AIIMS on April 30. However, his samples tested positive for coronavirus again on May 2. Despite this, the police shifted him back to the isolation ward of the Mathura district jail hospital on the night of May 7, Friday.

The Delhi-based journalist, who used to freelance for a Malayalam news portal, Siddique Kappan was arrested on October 5, 2020, while he was on the way to cover the alleged gang-rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras. He has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and with sedition. He has been housed in the Mathura prison since then.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has been fighting the case for Siddique Kappan. In November 2020, his wife, too, was added as a petitioner in the case. According to his family, the journalist is diabetic. In an earlier petition in the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, his wife had alleged that Siddique Kappan was “chained” to the Mathura hospital bed and not allowed to use the toilet. She had sought urgent intervention from the Supreme Court.

Following this, the Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to shift him to a hospital in Delhi, "to provide adequate and effective medical assistance to him and to allay apprehension relating to his health.”

According to the contempt petition, none of the family members or the lawyer of Sidhique Kappan was informed about the progress of his medical condition or treatment till May 7. “On May 1, Siddique Kappan’s wife, along with their son, came to Delhi all away from Kerala leaving two children and a 90-year old ailing mother, to see her ailing husband, although there were a lot of hurdles like languages, finance and other issues. But all their efforts to meet Siddique Kappan failed due to your (jail authorities) non-response to the grievances of the accused and his family members," the petition further read.

Incidentally, according to KUWJ's counsel advocate Wills Mathew, in the affidavit filed by Mathura jail authorities on April 28, Siddique Kappan tested negative for coronavirus. “But we believe that the affidavit was wrong and that he continued to remain positive," Wills Mathew told TNM. The discharge summary issued by AIIMS, too, stated the diagnosis of mild COVID-19 disease and treatment given for this, according to the petition.

The family alleged that it was from the discharge summary that the family learnt that Siddique Kappan tested positive on May 2, which the jail authorities allegedly did not disclose to them. “We fear that this non-disclosure was due to the fear arising out the superintendent’s statement in the apex court that Kappan is negative for coronavirus," the petition read.


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