Siddique Kappan, in jail for nearly 2 years, granted bail by Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday granted bail to Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh government while on his way to Hathras to cover the gangrape and murder of a Dalit girl in October 2020 and subsequently booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The SC said it would allow Kappan to remain in Delhi and mark his presence in a local police station for six weeks, before relocating to his native place in Kerala, where he would have to report to the police.

During the hearing, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the state, argued against Kappan’s release saying he had appeared in a meeting of the Popular Front of India in September 2020, during which it was “decided that they will go to sensitive areas and incite riots”, reported Bar and Bench.

He also said Kappan and his co-accused were on their way to Hathras “to create unrest” and “distribute literature among the Dalit population” — the literature, he said, was a toolkit on how to incite riots.

The CJI, in response, reportedly said that every person has a right to freedom of expression, and asked whether this was a crime in eyes of the law.

Earlier this week, the Uttar Pradesh police told the Supreme Court that its “investigation has revealed that petitioner is the think tank of PFI (Popular Front of India)” and had even “advised” one of the two PFI “hit squad” members arrested with explosives in Lucknow in February last year.

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