Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested a year ago on charges of sedition while on his way to Hathras following the gang-rape and death of a Dalit teenager – a case that triggered national and global condemnation – did not write like a “responsible” journalist and “only and only reports to incite Muslims”, according to the UP police chargesheet against him.
The 5,000-page document, filed in April by the UP Special Task Force and presented before a Mathura court, accuses the journalist of sympathising with “Maoists and Communists” as well as “trying to further the terror agenda” of the banned outfit SIMI, or Student’s Islamic Movement of India.
The chargesheet has still not been made available to Kappan or his legal representatives, his lawyers have claimed. They have petitioned the trial court, seeking “true copies of the document”.
Delhi-based Kappan and three of his alleged associates – Atiqur Rahman, Masood Ahmed and Alam – were arrested in October 2020 en route to Hathras.
According to The Indian Express, the chargesheet includes a case diary note, dated January 23, 2021, in which the police highlights portions from 36 articles written by Kappan for a Malayalam media house: on the Nizamuddin Markaz after the COVID outbreak, anti-CAA protests, Northeast Delhi riots, and the Ram temple in Ayodhya, among other issues.
Referring to one of these articles on the CAA protests in Aligarh Muslim University, the investigating officer states: “In the writing, the Muslims have been portrayed as victims [who] were beaten up by police and were asked to go to Pakistan. It is evident from the writing that it has been done to incite Muslims.”
The note concludes: “These writings of Siddique Kappan, to a great extent, can be classified as communal. During riots, taking the name of a minority and talking about events related to them can incite sentiments. Responsible journalists do not do such communal reporting. Kappan only and only reports to incite Muslims, which is a hidden agenda of PFI [Popular Front of India]. Some stories were written to sympathise with Maoists and Communists.”
The police claimed that the PFI wanted to create unrest and a riot-like situation following the Hathras case. The 19-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped on September 14, 2020, by four men and she died two weeks later in a Delhi hospital. After her death, the victim was cremated by the police on September 29 without the consent of her family, a claim denied by the police.