The Allahabad High Court, on Tuesday, 23 August, granted bail to Mohammad Alam, who was booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), along with journalist Sidiqque Kapan, in connection with the Hathras case.
A bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Saroj Yadav, while pronouncing the bail order, observed that no incriminating article was recovered from Alam's possession.
Distinguishing his case from that of Kappan, who was denied bail earlier this month, the court remarked that incriminating evidence including the journalist's phone, laptop, and other video clips had been retrieved.
Alam was purported to be the driver of the taxi that took Kappan, and the other two accused in the case, to Hathras for reporting on the gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl.
The prosecution had contended that the three of them intended to disrupt harmony in the area. It was also alleged that they were collecting funds to run a website replete with misinformation, in order to incite violence.
Alam was arrested along with the others in October 2020.
'Very Concerned’: UN Special Rapporteur on Siddique Kappan’s Arrest
Meanwhile, Mary Lawlor, the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on human rights defenders, expressed concern over Kappan's incarceration on 17 August.
Lawlor said in a tweet, "I am very concerned by the ongoing detention of human rights defender and journalist Siddique Kappan in India. Siddique was arrested in 2020 on his way to Uttar Pradesh to cover the reported rape and murder of a young Dalit woman and he has frequently highlighted discrimination in India. Now facing UAPA charges and denied bail."
Kappan's daughter too had given a speech on the occasion of India's 76th Independence Day and while introducing herself had said, “I am Mehnaz Kappan, daughter of journalist Siddique Kappan, a citizen who has been forced into a dark room by breaking all of the freedom of a citizen."
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)