Journalist Kappan out of UP jail on bail

LUCKNOW, 2 Feb: Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan walked out of jail on Thursday, a day after the sureties required for his bail were submitted in court.

Two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each were submitted on Wednesday in the special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court here.

Kappan was released from jail at around 9:15 am, Lucknow District Jail Jailor Rajendra Singh told PTI.

“I struggled,” Kappan said minutes after he walked out to camera crews, a small curious crowd – and to his wife and teen son, waiting patiently, just as they had for the more than two years since he was imprisoned on his way to Hathras.

“It has been 28 months. I am out after a lot of fight. I am happy,” he said.

Speaking to PTI, the journalist added, “I am coming to Delhi. I have to stay there for six weeks.” Asked about the purpose of his visit to Hathras, Kappan told the assembled reporters that he had gone there for “reporting.”

About those who had accompanied him, he said they were students.

Kappan and three others were arrested in October 2020 while they were going to the Uttar Pradesh town where a Dalit woman died, allegedly after being raped. They were accused of trying to instigate violence over the death of the Hathras woman.

To questions about recoveries made from him, Kappan told the media, “Nothing… I had only a laptop and mobile.” Asked about reports that some objectionable materials were also found on him, he said, “Two pens and a notepad.”

The police had alleged that Kappan had links with the now-banned Popular Front of India and charged him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code.

In his two-and-a-half years in jail, his mother died.

“Her name was Kadijah. She is not there to see Kappan coming home,” his wife Raihana told PTI.

“The Supreme Court granted bail in the UAPA case and his innocence was revealed. Two and a half years is not a short time. We have experienced a lot of pain and suffering. But I am happy that justice, though belated, has been served,” she said.

“I repeat that Kappan is a media person,” Raihana stressed.

According to Kappan’s lawyer Mohamed Dhanish KS, the journalist had been lodged in the Mathura and Lucknow district jails and had been out twice – once when he got Covid and was admitted at AIIMS, Delhi, and the second time to meet his ailing mother.

Last September, the Supreme Court granted him bail in connection with that case. But he continued to be in jail because of the money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate. (PTI)