Forty-three days after his arrest, Malayali journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested in October while on his way to Hathras, was on Wednesday allowed to speak to his lawyer. Siddique Kappan and three others were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on October 5 while they were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of a 19-year old Dalit woman who had died after allegedly being gangraped.
In a five-minute conversation over the phone, Siddique told his lawyer Wills Mathews that he had been arrested six and half hours before the time that has been mentioned in the First Information Report (FIR), reports Anuja Jaiswal of the Times of India. Mathews said this as a major discrepancy which he will raise in court. As per the FIR, the four were arrested at 4.50 pm, while Kappan told his counsel that he was arrested at 10.20 am.
The counsel for Kappan has been engaged by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ). Siddique is the Delhi unit secretary of the union.
On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on the habeas corpus plea filed for the release of Siddique Kappan. The habeas corpus petition was filed by the KUWJ. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Siddique Kappan, that it may send the case to the High Court.
The Supreme Court has, however, agreed to hear the case on Friday, November 20. The court has asked the counsel for the state of Uttar Pradesh to be present in the court.
Wills Mathew had earlier told TNM that they approached the Supreme Court and not the High Court because the dispute is not between Siddique and the state, but is a matter of freedom of speech. The Supreme Court had adjourned the habeas corpus plea of Siddique, a week after his arrest and had asked the petitioners to approach the Allahabad High Court.
Siddique's wife Raihanath had sought the intervention of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for releasing her husband. She had also met Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi.