A local court in Mathura dropped proceedings against journalist Siddique Kappan and three others who were booked on charges of breach of peace after their arrest on October 5 last year as the police failed to complete the inquiry against them within the prescribed 6-month period.
The Kerala-based journalist Kappan and his associates were arrested while they were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit woman who was raped, murdered and cremated in secrecy by Uttar Pradesh Police. Since Kappan and his associates were also activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI), a Kerala-based Islamic organisation, the Uttar Pradesh Police charged them with threat to peace and were further booked for sedition, violation of UAPA and the Information Technology Act.
In April this year, the police filed a charge sheet against all eight persons, including Kappan, in a local court in Mathura. Sub Divisional Magistrate, Maant, Ram Datt Ram on Tuesday discharged accused Atikurrahman, Aalam, Kappan and Masood. They have been discharged from charges under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) Sections 151 (Arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences), 107 (Security for keeping the peace in other cases) and 116 (Inquiry as to truth of information).
The accused have been in jail since October 7 last year in another case under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 295A (outraging religious feelings), 124A (sedition), 120B (conspiracy) of IPC, 17/18 of UAPA (raising funds for terrorist act) and under the IT Act.
Siddique Kappan’s family and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) have said the accusations against him were false and frivolous. In April this year, his family had moved the Supreme Court alleging he was being mistreated in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh, where he was admitted for Covid-19 treatment.