Hyderabad: Siddique Kappan, the journalist who was arrested a year ago on charges of sedition while on his way to report on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh is at the receiving end of contempt from the UP Special Task Force. The STF in its charesheet to a court reportedly said that Kappan did not “write like a responsible journalist” and “only reported to incite Muslims”.
These comments were found in the UP Special Task Force’s charge sheet in which the officials further remark that Kappan wrote “only to sympathise with Maoists and Communists”, reported The Indian Express. The 5000-page chargesheet includes a case diary note from January 23 of this year in which the investigating officer highlights parts of 36 articles penned by Kappan on the Nizamuddin Markaz gathering post COVID-19, the anti-CAA protests, Northeast Delhi riots, the Ram temple in Ayodhya and the chargesheet against Sharjeel Imam who was jailed on sedition charges.
Referring to one of these articles written by Kappan during the CAA protests, the note states: “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.”
The note, according to the IE report concluded saying: “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.”
The chargesheet was filed in April this year, months after Kappan, PFI members Atikur Rahman and Masud Ahmad, and their driver Alam, were arrested in Mathura on October 5 last year while on their way to Hathras. They were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and on charges of sedition.
The task force has claimed and still argues that the PFI wanted to create unrest and a riot-like situation in the garb of a protest demanding justice for the Hathras victim, who had been allegedly assaulted and gangraped leading to her death in a Delhi hospital and who was later on buried without the family’s proper involvement.
According to the case diary note, the articles are part of data obtained from Kappan’s laptop after it had been sent to the forensic laboratory.
In the note, police claim that Kappan worked as a “think tank” of the PFI. It alleges that he was attempting to publish “anti-Hindu” stories in the Malayalam media and had plans to inflame the Delhi riots. Police also accuse him of trying to hide the death of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma and head constable Ratan Lal, and downplaying the alleged role of suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, in the Delhi riots.Also Read |AAP MLA discharged in case of abetting party worker’s suicide
The investigating agency also alleges that Kappan, through his writing, has tried to deny terrorism carried out by the banned organisation SIMI. Police have also submitted statements from two eyewitnesses who claim that Kappan and Rahman were trying to incite a crowd against the administration, the day after the victim’s body had been cremated. Police even quotes a local resident who attests to the same.
Another person from the same village, who claims to be an eyewitness, has recorded a similar statement with the UP STF, documents show. Kappan’s lawyer however argued that his client was not in Hathras at that point and was only arrested two days later. “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,” said lawyer Madhuvan Dutt.
A statement by Mant Toll Plaza in-charge Gyanendra Singh Solanki, which is part of the chargesheet, 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 which had details of how to cause caste based violence and create a massive law and order situation,”