Kappan Not a ‘Responsible’ Journalist, Writes Only About Muslims: UP Police
Kappan was attempting to publish “anti-Hindu” stories in the Malayalam media, the police have alleged.
The UP Special Task Force (STF) in the charge sheet filed against Kerala journalist and UAPA accused Siddique Kappan has stated that he did not write like a “responsible” journalist and only reported events in relation to Muslims. Kappan was arrested last year while he was on his way to Hathras following the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit woman.
The STF sees this as an attempt to incite Muslims and believes that Kappan wrote also to “sympathise with Maoists and Communists”, Indian Express reported.
The 5,000-page charge sheet, which was filed in April this year, includes a case diary note in which portions from 36 articles written by Kappan have been highlighted by the investigating officer as evidence of incitement.
The articles are on the Nizamuddin Markaz, which was held responsible for the COVID outbreak, anti-CAA protests, Delhi riots, the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and the charge sheet against Sharjeel Imam who has also been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
What the Case Note States:
In one of the articles “written during the CAA protests in AMU”, the note states that “in the writing, the Muslims have been portrayed as victims (who) were beaten up by police and were asked to go to Pakistan. It is evident from the writing that it has been done to incite Muslims”, Indian Express reported.
The note adds, “These writings of Siddique Kappan, to a great extent, can be classified as communal. During riots, taking the name of a minority and talking about events related to them can incite sentiments. Responsible journalists do not do such communal reporting. Kappan only and only reports to incite Muslims, which is a hidden agenda of PFI (Popular Front of India). Some stories were written to sympathise with Maoists and Communists.”
Kappan and three others were arrested on 5 October 2020, while on their way to Hathras, including Atikur Rahman and Masud Ahmad, both office-bearers of the Campus Front of India, the student wing of PFI, and their driver Alam.
Notably, Muslim organisation PFI is not banned in India, though efforts for the ban have been taken by the government.
Seven others, three of whom were arrested with Kappan, who were nabbed later have also been charged under the UAPA.
What the STF Said:
In the note, the police have claimed that Kappan worked as a “think tank” for PFI.
Further, the STF has claimed that PFI wanted to protest demanding justice for the Hathras victim in order to create unrest and a riot-like situation.
The Hathras victim who was allegedly gang-raped, killed, and later forcefully cremated by the UP administration in the dead of night of 29 September 2020, had led to nationwide outrage.
As per the case diary note, Kappan’s articles are part of data that was obtained from his laptop after it had been sent to the forensic laboratory.
The police have further alleged that Kappan was attempting to publish “anti-Hindu” stories in the Malayalam media and also had plans to inflame the Delhi riots.
Police also accused him of downplaying the alleged role of suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain in the Delhi riots, Indian Express reported.
Furthermore, the police have alleged that Kappan was trying to hide the death of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma and head constable Ratan Lal, who were killed during the riots.
Kappan has, in his writings, tried to deny terrorism carried out by the banned organisation SIMI, the investigating agency added.
Outrage Against the Allegations
While Kappan had earlier called the case ‘fake’, several journalists and netizens have reacted to the ‘fabricated’ allegations, pointing out the ‘overreach of law’.
‘Dubious Eyewitness Statements’: Kappan’s Lawyer
Statements from two eyewitnesses have been submitted by the police. The statements claim that Kappan and Atiq-ur Rahman were trying to incite a crowd against the administration, a day after the victim’s body was cremated.
Police have quoted a resident of a neighbouring village who identified Kappan and Rehman, saying that they were the two people making speeches and distributing money.
Another eyewitness from the same village has made a similar statement.
However, Madhuvan Dutt, the lawyer for the accused said, “These are dubious eyewitness statements since the accused had not been able to reach the village in the first place and were arrested on the way to it.”
Moreover, a statement by Mant Toll Plaza in-charge Gyanendra Singh Solanki, which is part of the charge sheet, states, “The accused were arrested during checking on the highway. The accused said they wanted to get justice for the victim and did not stop despite repeated requests. Except the driver Alam, the persons had 1,717 pamphlets that had details of how to cause caste-based violence and create a massive law and order situation. Besides Alam, the three persons are found to be active members of PFI’s associate Campus Front of India (CFI). The accused were part of several WhatsApp groups. The accused had been directed to create tension in Hathras area in connection with the murder and gang-rape”, Indian Express reported.
Following continued deterioration in health, a Lucknow court issued an order last week to transfer Atiq-ur Rahman to AIIMS in Delhi.
Rahman suffers from a congenital heart condition, aortic regurgitation. At the time of his arrest, the 26-year-old was receiving treatment for his heart condition.
Meanwhile, a Mathura court is hearing the case against the four accused, while charges are yet to be framed.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.