‘I struggled’: Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan walks out of jail after 2 years

  • Kappan and three others were arrested in October 2020 while they were going to the Uttar Pradesh town, Hathras, to report on the high profile case where a Dalit woman died after being gang-raped

Livemint
First Published2 Feb 2023
Journalist Siddique Kappan poses for photos following his release from the Lucknow District Jail, in Lucknow, Thursday
Journalist Siddique Kappan poses for photos following his release from the Lucknow District Jail, in Lucknow, Thursday(PTI)

"I struggled more," Journalist from Kerala, Siddique Kappan, who was lodged at the Mathura and Lucknow district jails, walked out on bail on Thursday after a period of two years.

Kappan and three others were arrested in October 2020 while they were going to the Uttar Pradesh town, Hathras, to report on the high profile case where a Dalit woman died after being gang-raped. Kappan and the three others were accused of trying to instigate violence over the death of the Hathras woman.

Kappan was received by his wife, Raihana, and his elder son Muzammil (19).

Journalist Siddique Kappan with his wife Raihana and son Muzammil

"I am coming to Delhi. I have to stay there for six weeks," Kappan told news agency PTI.

Kappan in these two years had been let out only twice. Once when he got Covid-19 and was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, the second time he was let out to visit his ailing mother Khadija.

Kappan lost his mother when he was still lodged in jail.

"The Supreme Court granted bail in the UAPA case and his innocence was revealed. Two and a half years is not a short time. We have experienced a lot of pain and suffering. But I am happy that justice, though belated, has been served," Kappan's wife told PTI.

Journalist Siddique Kappan with his wife Raihana and son Muzammil watches television following his release from the Lucknow District Jail, at a hotel in Lucknow,

Kappan has maintained his innocence and says that he had only travelled from his home state of Kerala to do his duties as a journalist.

He was bailed in the case in September last year but remained behind bars for months longer because of a separate money laundering case against him.

"I will continue my fight against draconian laws. They kept me in jail even after I got bail," he told NDTV news network after his release from jail in the city of Lucknow.

India has slipped 10 places in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking to 150 out of 180 surveyed countries since the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014.

Critical reporters often find themselves behind bars and hounded on social media by supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Nine other journalists are currently in Indian prisons, according to Reporters Without Borders.

(With inputs from agencies)

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