ED to Quiz Scribe Sidhique Kappan, 3 Others Held on Way to Hathras

The journalist was arrested while he was on his way to report on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras.

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SC tells journalist Sidhique Kappan, charged under UAPA, who was arrested en route to Hathras, to first approach Allahabad High Court for bail.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will question four people, including journalist Sidhique Kappan, who were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on their way to Hathras last week.

Kappan, a Delhi-based Malayali journalist was en route to Hathras to report on the alleged rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, when he was booked by the police and charged with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA and sedition.

On Monday, 12 October, a habeas corpus plea by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) to produce Kappan before the Supreme Court was adjourned by four weeks. The UP police alleged that the four arrested were suspected to be members of the Popular Front of India (PFI).

Apart from Kappan, the others arrested are Atiq-ur Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed of Bahraich, and Alam of Rampur. The UP Police also seized their mobile phones, laptop and some literature.

An ED official requesting anonymity said that the financial probe agency has been investigating the role of the PFI for the last few years, including its involvement in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) stir last year and the northeast Delhi riots in February this year. The official said that the agency will soon record the statements of the four men after visiting Mathura jail, where they have been lodged.

The official said that as they have also been booked by the UP Police under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they will inquire if there was any money laundering. The official remained tightlipped if the agency will file a fresh case under the PMLA against them.

The official said that the agency will probe if the PFI provided funding or logistic support to those who indulged in hooliganism after the death of the 19-year-old Hathras Dalit woman.

The Dalit woman passed away on 29 September 2020 at a government hospital in Delhi, where she was admitted for treatment. There has been nationwide outrage following the alleged rape and murder of the woman and the unexplained hurried action of the police in burning her body against the parents’ wishes.

(This article was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)

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