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Independent inquiry be made to determine facts related to ‘illegal arrest’ of scribe: KUWJ to SC

In a counter affidavit filed in the apex court, the KUWJ has claimed that Uttar Pradesh Police has made an "absolute false and incorrect statement" that Kappan is the office secretary of Popular Front of India (PFI) as he is working as a journalist only.

By: PTI | New Delhi | December 1, 2020 8:45:36 pm
UP govt on Siddique Kappan: Had India’s daughter pamphlet, riot planSiddique Kappan (with cap), secretary of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, and three others who were held with him were produced before a court in Mathura. (PTI)

Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has urged the Supreme Court that an independent inquiry be conducted by a retired apex court judge to determine the facts of the alleged “illegal arrest and detention” of scribe Siddique Kappan on his way to Hathras, where a young Dalit woman had died after allegedly being gang-raped.

In a counter affidavit filed in the apex court, the KUWJ has claimed that Uttar Pradesh Police has made an “absolute false and incorrect statement” that Kappan is the office secretary of Popular Front of India (PFI) as he is working as a journalist only.

“Accused Siddique Kappan specifically requested the lawyer to make a request to this court to permit him to undergo narco-analysis test or brain mapping test or lie detector test or any other scientific test to show that he/the accused is innocent,” it said.

The counter affidavit was filed days after Uttar Pradesh had filed an affidavit in the apex court claiming that Kappan was going to Hathras under the “garb of journalism” with a “very determined design” to create caste divide and disturb law and order situation.

The state has alleged in its affidavit that Kappan is the office secretary of PFI and was using a ?journalist cover? by showing identity card of a Kerela-based newspaper which was closed in 2018.

The apex court is hearing KUWJ’s plea which has questioned Kappan’s arrest and has sought his release on bail.

In its rejoinder affidavit, KUWJ has alleged that state filed a “misleading affidavit, misrepresenting the facts in order to justify their illegal and unlawful detention and malicious prosecution” of Kappan and there are no materials to support the allegations against him.

“It is submitted that the accused is in no way connected with Popular Front either directly or indirectly or any of its activities in his life. He is from a humble family, working as a journalist from Delhi,” it said, adding that plea filed by KUWJ in the apex court is maintainable.

Seeking Kappan’s release from the alleged “illegal and unlawful detention”, it said that the apex court should appoint a retired judge of the top court to conduct a judicial inquiry in the matter.

“A bare reading of the FIR reveals the fact that the ingredients of the offence are not made out and the accused is innocent,” it said, adding, “Nothing can justify the act of the respondent in keeping the accused all away from his family for 29 days from the date of arrest.”

It said Kappan had attempted to visit Hathras on October 5 in discharge of his journalistic duties and he had intimated his employer prior to his trip.

“Considering the serious lapses from the part of the respondent in complying with the guidelines of this court in ?..and also considering the absolutely false and frivolous pleadings made in the counter affidavit demoralizing the entire media, the act of keeping the accused without any contact with his family for 29 days from his arrest?.interest of justice and ends of justice requires conducting a judicial inquiry by a retired judge of this court to uncover the mala fide misuse of criminal law to target journalists and media,” it said.

Opposing the plea filed by KUWJ questioning Kappan’s arrest, the state had earlier said in its affidavit that it is ?not maintainable? and the petitioner has ?no locus? as the accused is already in touch with his advocates and relatives and he himself can file proceedings through his lawyers.

Kappan was arrested on October 5 while he was on his way to Hathras, home to the young Dalit woman who died after being allegedly gang-raped by four upper-caste men.

The police had said it has arrested four people having alleged links with PFI in Mathura and identified the arrested persons as Siddique from Malappuram, Atiq-ur Rehman from Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed from Bahraich and Alam from Rampur.

The FIR has been filed under various provisions of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against four people having alleged links with PFI.

PFI had been accused in the past of funding protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act across the country earlier this year.

Hathras has been in the news following the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly gang-raped on September 14, 2020, in a village in the district.

Her cremation at night by the authorities, allegedly without the parents’ consent, has triggered widespread outrage.

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