New Delhi: The International Press Institute (IPI) has demanded the release of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan. The international network meant to protect press freedom also condemned his arrest.
Kappan was arrested in Uttar Pradesh under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for an article published on his website. He is also charged with sedition. IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said that the journalist is being subjected to "unacceptable ill-treatment", reported The News Minute.
Kappan and three others were arrested in October 2020 when they set out to report the alleged gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. The UP police alleged them to be part of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and of going to Hathras to 'disrupt peace'.
Scott Griffen said that the IPI is extremely concerned that Kappan was targeted and detained due to his journalistic activity. The statement pointed out that there is no evidence to support UP Police's claims. Hence, the charges against Kappan must be dropped immediately.
He added that Indian is seeing an increased number of muzzling of critical journalists. Griffen stated that all the journalists in India must be able to safely cover events in the public interest, without fear of harassment, detention, or discrimination said The News Minute report.
On June 15, the charges of breach of peace were dropped by a UP court as the police failed to complete the investigation even after six months. He spoke to the media after the verdict and said that the charges against him are "completely fake".
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and his wife RaihanathKappan have been demanding his release since October 2020.
Kappan has not been granted bail after several appeals. The trial for the case hasn't begun either. He was allowed to visit his 90-year-old ailing mother for five days under supervision, who passed away recently.