SC tells Kerala journalist held by UP police to approach Allahabad HC

New Delhi, Oct 12 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Monday asked Kerala journalist Sidhique Kappan, who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police while on way to Hathras to report a rape-murder incident, to approach the Allahabad High Court for relief.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the journalist, filed a habeas corpus petition against the arrest. Mr Sibal told the court that an FIR has been filed against his client under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJI) SA Bobde, adjourned the petition for four weeks and directed the petitioner to approach the Allahabad High Court.

To this, Mr Sibal contradicted that “no court in Uttar Pradesh” will hear his plea and the journalist will remain behind bars.

However, the CJI told the petitioner that ‘if anything like this happens, the Supreme Court is there’.

The petitioner claimed that the detention of the journalist was completely “illegal” and violated the freedom of press.

Also, the family members of the journalist were not informed of the arrest, which was again a violation of the law.

Mr Kappan, along with three other journalists – Atiq-ur Reahman, Masood Ahmed and Alam, were held by the Uttar Pradesh police at Hathras toll plaza on October 5. Police have alleged that the journos have an association with the Popular Front of India.

The UP police said that they have seized laptop, mobile phones and other material from the accused, which allegedly showed that the accused wanted to disrupt peace in the state.

Mr Kappan belongs to a family of journalists. His father is the General Secretary of Kerala Union of Working Journalist (KUWJ).

A 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped and brutally assaulted by four upper caste men of a Hathras village.

Two weeks later, she died in a Delhi hospital and was cremated forcefully in the middle of night by UP policemen, in the absence of the victim’s family members, leading to widespread outrage in Uttar Pradesh, neighbouring Delhi and some other states.


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