Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan, who was in custody for over two years, without a trial was released on bail by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad court.
Siddique was jailed in 2020 for his report on the alleged rape of a girl in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
“I am happy to walk out of jail after almost 2.5 years,” 43-year-old Kappan told Al Jazeera. “I am hopeful to defend my part and prove my innocence.”
“I had only gone to report. What is wrong with that? I was only carrying two pens and a notepad,” he continued.
While speaking to NDTV, Kappan said that he will “continue his fight against the draconian laws.
“Every person has a right to freedom of expression. He is trying to propagate an idea that he feels is necessary. We have seen how protests took place at India Gate following the Nirbhaya incident (gang rape of a Delhi woman in 2012) after which there was a change in the law. What he seeks is to propagate his views. Will that be a crime in the eyes of law?” said the court in support of Kappan.
Why was Siddique in Jail?
Siddique Kappan was arrested while he was reporting on the Hathras rape incident. A 20-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly gang-raped and it led to a furor, around the country. The authorities were later criticised for how they dealt with the case. Days after the rape when the woman died, the authorities cremated her body in the middle of the night which was seen as a cover-up by many.
While covering this case, the authorities state that Siddique Kappan and his two other associates were arrested on the accusation of belonging to a Muslim Organisation and inciting violence.
Siddique Kappan was accused of Sedition and was also charged under the country’s anti-terror law, UAPA. Last year in February, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering case against the journalist. The ED accused him of accepting money from the People’s Front of India, a banned organisation in India.
Social Media Reactions
Siddique Kappan was in jail for a total of 711 days. All this while, there were several posts shared across social media in support of the Kerala journalist. Several activists came forward to demand justice in this case.
After the release of the journalist, social media erupted with joy, as several sections of the media welcomed the news.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) February 2, 2023
Siddique Kappan on people questioning his credibility as a journalist. He was released from Lucknow jail on Thursday following more than two years of incarceration. pic.twitter.com/gEyeFuY53k
— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) February 2, 2023
Alhmdulillah! After two years, Siddique Kappan is finally out of Jail. pic.twitter.com/hg3HVEP7ch
— Ahmed Khabeer احمد خبیر (@AhmedKhabeer_) February 2, 2023