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‘My Father Has Been Forced Into a Dark Room’: Siddique Kappan’s Daughter

Journalist Siddique Kappan was booked under UAPA by UP Police and has been in jail since October 2020.

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Jailed Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan's daughter took to her school stage on Monday, 15 August, to speak on the occasion of India's 76th Independence Day. “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," she said.

In jail since October 2020, Siddique Kappan has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, in an alleged conspiracy related to the Hathras rape case.

Kappan's daughter, in her speech, said that the freedom we enjoy is the end result of the life sacrifices of freedom fighters.

"The freedom that we enjoy today is the end result of the life sacrifices made by Gandhi, Nehru, Bhagat Singh, and many more blessed heroes and revolutionaries," she said.

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"Today, every Indian has the choice to wear what they want, eat what they want, and believe in the religion they want. There is freedom of individual opinion," Mehnaz added.

She also spoke about the right of every Indian "to fight back those who ask them to leave (the country)." "India’s pride, which was reborn, resurrected on 15 August, should not be surrendered before anyone," she further said.

'We Should Live in Unity'

Mehnaz Kappan further highlighted the "discrimination" in the society. "But, even today turmoil exists. Discrimination on the basis of religion, varna, and politics, reflect this (disruption of peace). These should be uprooted with love and unity," she said.

"We should wipe out even the shadow of turmoil. We should live in unity. We should raise India to the heights of greatness. We should work towards a future which does not have conflict and fights. We should have a bright future," the child said.

Concluding her speech, the little one paid tribute to the patriots who fought for India’s freedom. "I request – please do not curtail the freedom of ordinary citizens of India. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat," she said.

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Why Is Siddique Kappan in Jail?

In October 2020, Kappan was arrested, along with three others, by the Uttar Pradesh Police while he was on the way to Hathras to cover the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl.

The allegation levelled against them was that their entry into west UP's Hathras constituted an "apprehension of breach of peace."

After they were sent to jail, a second FIR was registered under sections of the UAPA and pertaining to sedition. The police said that on the basis of a primary investigation in the first FIR, there was a criminal conspiracy being hatched to destabilise peace and break law and order in Hathras.

The police claimed that Kappan was going to Hathras with a "very determined design to create caste divide and disturb the law and order situation" and that he had links with the Popular Front of India (PFI).

Earlier this month, the Allahabad High Court rejected the bail plea moved by the journalist, saying that "the applicant had no work at Hathras."

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Topics:  Independence Day   press freedom   Hathras 

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