Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 20
Dismissing claims of illegal detention of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, the Uttar Pradesh Government on Friday told the Supreme Court that he was a PFI activist who attempted to create caste divide in Hathras.
“The person in custody, Siddique Kappan, is the office secretary of the Popular Front of India (PFI) using a journalist cover by showing identity card of a Kerela-based newspaper ‘Tejas’, which was closed in 2018,” the UP Government stated in its affidavit.
The affidavit has been filed in response to a petition by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) challenging the October 5 arrest of Kappan while on his way to Hathras to cover the death of a Dalit woman who died after allegedly being gang-raped.
It said all legal requirements relating to the arrest of the accused were fulfilled and his family members were also duly informed about his arrest. He was presented before a court and currently in judicial custody.
“Investigation revealed that he, along with other PFI activists and their student wing (Campus Front of India) leaders, was going to Hathras under the garb of journalism with a very determined design to create a caste divide and disturb law and order situation, and were found carrying incriminating material,” the affidavit stated.
“When he was brought by the STF to Delhi, he misled the police by giving wrong residential address, which was found invalid. He did not assist in the investigation and gave misleading details. His flatmate, who is also a member of the PFI and its various wings, denied access. Finally, armed with search warrants, when the premises was searched by the police, further incriminating material has been recovered all of which is the subject matter of investigation as stated here under,” the UP Government told the top court.
What the Bench said
- A Bench, led by CJI SA Bobde, expressed displeasure over inaccurate reporting of its previous proceedings that it had refused relief in the case. It asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, to peruse the UP Government’s affidavit and adjourned the hearing to next week.
- The Bench recorded the state government’s statement that there was no objection to an advocate approaching Siddique Kappan.