April 24, 2021 4:54:58 am
The Supreme Court has been petitioned to order the transfer of jailed journalist Siddique Kappan from Mathura to AIIMS in New Delhi as he collapsed in prison after testing positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, his lawyer said.
Kappan is in Mathura jail in connection with an alleged conspiracy to inflame religious enmity over the Hathras incident in which a Dalit woman was killed last September after being allegedly gang-raped.
While the state police have alleged that Kappan was part of the conspiracy to disrupt peace in Hathras, his lawyer maintains that he was going to report on the case.
Advocate Wills Mathews moved the application to shift Kappan to AIIMS on Thursday on behalf of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and the journalist’s wife.
“On Thursday, we made a mention in court that Kappan is critical after he tested positive for Covid-19. He collapsed in the toilet due to weakness. We have requested the court to move him to Delhi as he is not being able to adjust in Mathura where he is being served chapati and dal, which is not his staple food. This has led to a deterioration of health over a period of time. So, the need to transfer him to AIIMS, Delhi, for better treatment is urgent. The most important aspect of recovery from Covid-19 is immunity. His immunity is weak because the food being served to him is not what he is used to. We are not saying he should be given lavish meals, but should be given something that he can eat to stay healthy,” Mathews told The Indian Express.
Mathura Jail Superintendent Shailendra Maitreyi said Kappan was currently being treated for Covid-19 in a hospital. “He had tested positive on Wednesday. I can’t reveal which hospital he is at, but he is not in the jail hospital,” he added.
Asked about the journalist’s health, the superintendent said, “He is being treated at a hospital that will get in touch with us when he will need to be discharged or if he has to be referred to a better medical facility. The hospital officials haven’t got in touch with us, meaning neither situation has arisen yet.”
Kappan has been charged under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity) and 295A (outraging sentiments), the stringent UAPA, and relevant sections of the IT Act.
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