Journalist Siddique Kappan and three others who were detained on their way to meet the Hathras victim's family on charges related to "breach of peace" have been discharged after eight months. The Sub Divisional Magistrate of Mant dropped the charges against them after the police failed to complete the investigation within the prescribed six-month period.
Kappan (41), Atiqur Rahman (28), Masood Ahmed (28) and Mohd Alam (37) - the four allegedly linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested on October 5, 2020, while they were on their way to meet the family of the 19-year old Dalit woman in Hathras who was allegedly gang-raped by men from a higher caste and later died due to the injuries.
FIR Under UAPA
The Sub Division Magistrate of Mant, Ram Dutt Ram discharged the four accused arrested under the Criminal Procedure Code Section 151 (Arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences), Section 107 (Security for keeping the peace in other cases) and Section 116 (Inquiry as to the truth of information), according to the defence counsel Madhuban Datt Chaturvedi.
"Police couldn't provide evidence to substantiate charges of breach of peace within six months since the case began," Chaturvedi told The Times of India.
The four accused, who has been in jail since October 7, have also been booked under Section 153A (promoting enmity between groups), Section 295A (outraging religious feelings), Section 124A (sedition), Section 120B (conspiracy) of IPC, Section 17 (Punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and Section 18 ( Punishment for conspiracy) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and under the Information and Technology Act. These charges still stand.
Siddique Kappan Moved Supreme Court
According to the UP Police, the four men were on their way to Hathras to disrupt peace and stroke unrest. Siddique Kappan's family and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) have called the accusations 'false' and 'frivolous', as reported by The News Minute.
In April of this year, Siddique Kappan's family moved to the Supreme Court, alleging that Kappan was being mistreated in the hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19. Later Supreme Court ordered the UP Government to shift him from a Mathura hospital to a government hospital in Delhi.
He was admitted to AIIMS Delhi and later discharged on May 7. Later, he was brought back to Mathura Central Jail.