Kerala journalist, three others booked in UP under UAPA, sedition charges

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Siddique Kappan and three others, Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood Ahmed and Alam, were detained on their way to Hathras for having ‘links with the PFI.’

The Uttar Pradesh police has slapped sedition and offences under the stringent UAPA against Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested along with three others, while going to Hathras to cover the alleged rape and murder of a dalit girl.

The police had arrested them saying they had links the Popular Front of India (PFI), which the UP government has sought to ban. Siddique Kappan, who hails from Malappurama district in Kerala, has been working as a freelance journalist with base in Delhi.

According to News Minute, the first information report filed by the police stated that the four men had gone to disrupt the peace in Hathras and there is a big conspiracy behind their visit. The four have been booked under 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as section 17 (punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and 14 (punishment for unlawful activities) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

All the four have also been booked under section 65 (tampering with computer source documents), 72 (punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service) and 76 (punishment for violation of privacy) of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

The Uttar Pradesh police had on Monday said that it seized the mobile phones, laptops and some literature, which “could have an impact on peace and law and order”, from the arrested people. During interrogation, it came to light that the four arrested people had links with the PFI and its associate organisation Campus Front of India, the UP police had claimed.

The Delhi unit of Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeking his release, saying he was going to Hathras only to perform his duty as a reporter.

Terming Kappan's arrest as illegal and unconstitutional, the KUWJ has also filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking his immediate production before the court and release from the "illegal detention".

Image Credit: Asianet

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