Members of the ‘Journalists for Freedom’ visited the family of Siddiq Kappan, reporter of the news portal ‘Azhimukham’, and expressed their solidarity with him on October 18. Kappan was kidnapped by the UP police near the Mathura tollbooth while he was on his way to Hathras for reporting.
Siddiq Kappan, two student leaders who were with him and their cab driver were arrested, charged with sedition and sections of the UAPA, and jailed without following the Supreme Court directions with regard to arresting or taking citizens into custody. Even though news is coming out that they are in judicial custody and the UP police have disclosed the details of the FIR, lawyers have not been able to meet them in the prison. While the jail authorities asked Siddiq Kappan’s lawyer to get an order from the court, the court said it was not needed. This is how police and court are juggling with justice and democracy in UP. And hence, it is still doubtful whether Siddiq Kappan is in jail or in the illegal custody of the UP police. Kappan’s family also is raising the same doubt. This is a peculiar situation requiring serious intervention of the Kerala government, which in turn shows an indifferent attitude that is highly deplorable.
The arrest of Siddiq Kappan proves again that journalism is a criminal conspiracy and act in this country. Police records show that the FIR of the case, in which Kappan was arrested, was registered on October 4, whereas it was on October 5 that Kappan left Delhi to Hathras and was taken into custody from Mathura. This clearly reveals the state conspiracy in the case. The indifference shown and still continued by the ‘Azhimukham’, where Kappan works, is clearly a matter of subjection to the government. It is highly condemnable that such enslavement is taking place among the media, which is described as the fourth pillar of democracy. The management of ‘Azhimukham’ should realize that this will only lead to push the society to fearfulness, continue prejudices and fall into the deep pit of silence. The ‘Azhimukham’ should get ready to shed off this indifference and provide guidance to the democratic society.
Journalists are frequently getting hunted all over the country in the Modi regime. Several media persons have been languishing behind bars for years as per the UAPA in Kashmir and Chattisgarh. Dalit journalist Prashant Kanojia who is jailed by the UP police for criticizing a leader of the Hindu Army, Asif Sultan who is jailed in Kashmir, and Dalit journalist Sudhir Dhawale and Gautam Navlakha who are under-trials in the Bhima Koregaon case are examples for this. All people and journalists should be ready to respond against the jailing and framing as terrorists of those journalists who criticize the Brahmin-Hindutva fascism and refuse to praise Modi. Malayali journalists should be ready for continuous protest to bring about the release of Siddiq Kappan. Streets should come forward to echo the freedom of journalism, urges the ‘Journalists for Freedom’.
_ Journalists for Freedom
Rejaz M Sydeeq