Lawyer Claims Journo Kappan ‘Slapped, Beaten, Dragged’ in Custody
The affidavit further asserts that the allegations levelled against Kappan are “false and frivolous”.
The Kerala Working Journalist Union (KWJU) in its rejoinder affidavit before the Supreme Court has alleged that journalist Siddique Kappan was brutally beaten up and was subjected to serious “mental torture” from 5 to 6 October.
Advocate Wills Mathews told The Quint that Kappan was beaten and slapped. He was also beaten with a lathi thrice.
“I met Kappan on 21 November for the first time since his arrest. It was a half and hour meeting, he told me that he was thrashed by the investigating officer on the day of his arrest, he was not even allowed to sleep for one entire day.”Wills Mathews, Siddique Kappan’s lawyer
In its rejoinder affidavit, the KWJU has mentioned that “Mr Kappan was beaten with a lathi three times on his thigh, slapped three times after taking out the spectacles, dragged, forced to stay awake from 6 pm to 6 am, depriving him of sleep, without proper medicines, along with serious mental torture from 5 to October 6, 2020.”
It further mentions that the “mental torture” afflicted on Kappan is a part of custodial torture, which needs investigation at a higher level.
The affidavit also asserts that the allegations levelled against Kappan are “false and frivolous”.
UP Police Denies Allegation Made by Kappan’s Lawyer
The Quint reached out to the Mathura police for the clarification.
Shrish Chandra, Additional SP, Mathura, told The Quint that the allegations made by Will Mathews are completely wrong.
Denying the charges, Chandra told The Quint: “Siddique Kappan was not beaten by the police; the claims made by the lawyer are false. Kappan was produced before the court and medical tests were also done. Kappan was completely fine; he is in judicial custody and no such thing happened. Had he been tortured mentally or physically, Kappan would have told in the court.”
Journalist Siddique Kappan, CFI members Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood Ahmed and their driver Alam were held by the UP Police on 5 October, while they were going to Hathras after the alleged gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman had made national headlines.
The police had claimed, that acting on a tip, they intercepted a car at a toll plaza, after which the four occupants were interrogated and taken into custody.
On 7 October, the UP Police had charged Kappan, Rahman, Ahmed, and Alam with sedition and Section 17 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which pertains to punishment for raising funds for a terrorist act.
Journalist Union Denies Allegations by UP Police
However, the rejoinder affidavit asserts that the police did not find any incriminating pamphlets from the accused as alleged by the police earlier.
The affidavit submitted by the KWJU denies all allegations made by the respondents (the government of Uttar Pradesh and director general of police, UP) that link Kappan with the Popular Front of India (PFI) and said that “Respondents have filed a misleading affidavit, misrepresenting the facts in order to justify their illegal and unlawful detention and malicious prosecution of Kappan”.
Kappan’s lawyer Mathews stated that he talked to Kappan on phone for the first time on 2 November, after almost one month of his arrest, where Kappan had denied any kind of torture by the police.
“Kappan had not told us about the torture earlier, he was afraid that if he tells the truth he might get in trouble,” Mathews told The Quint.
The affidavit also says that Kappan had specifically requested to permit him to undergo a Narco Analysis test or brain mapping test or lie detector test, any scientific test to show that the accused is innocent.
Affidavit by UP Govt
Mathews stated that the Uttar Pradesh government in its counter affidavit before the Supreme Court has mentioned seriously misleading statement of the facts.
“It is revealed during investigation that he, along with other PFI activists and their student wing (Campus Front of India) leaders, were going to Hathras under the garb of journalism with a very determined design to create a caste divide and disturb the law-and-order situation (and) were found carrying incriminating material,” the Uttar Pradesh government had claimed, reported The Wire.
The KWJU has requested an immediate “judicial enquiry” by the Supreme Court in Kappan’s judicial arrest. The Union has asked to submit a report within 30 days.
“Failing which, it will seriously affect the confidence of the people in the legal system,” the affidavit stated.
The habeas corpus plea filed by the KUWJ challenging Kappan's detention claims that it is in violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
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