The Uttar Pradesh government has objected to a plea by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) to release its secretary, Sidhique Kappan, describing him as a “mastermind” with links to riots and disturbing public tranquility nationwide.
The State government, in an affidavit, said Mr. Kappan and his other co-accused were “mobilised towards” Hathras in Uttar Pradesh on the instructions of Md. Danish, an accused in the Delhi riots case. They were constantly in touch in Danish and Rauf Sherief, who is the general secretary of the students wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI). Mr. Kappan and his co-accused were detained enroute to Hathras, where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped and she died later. They were later booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and offences under other criminal laws.
Sibal seeks time
Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde on Monday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, for the KUWJ, sought time to file its response.
The State said Mr. Kappan was directly and closely associated with PFI members, who were executive members of banned terrorist organisation SIMI.
The State accused the KUWJ of misleading the court by portraying Mr. Kappan as a journalist. It said he was only an occasional contributor to some media outlets. The identity card shown by Mr. Kappan belonged to a paper, Thejas, which was closed in 2018.
However, this paper was an “acclaimed mouthpiece” of the PFI. The PFI is an “incarnation” of the banned SIMI.
‘Paper was extreme in its views’
“Thejas with which Sidhique Kappan has been associated is so extreme in its views that it has been creating religious discord in the State of Kerala insulting religious sentiments. The views of the paper were so extreme that it called terrorist Osama bin Laden a ‘martyr’ in its front page cover story on October 31, 2011”, the affidavit said.
Mr. Kappan was “associated with PFI, which has been responsible for disrupting the public peace of the State of Kerala by provoking the class and caste conflicts”, it stated and accused the PFI of anti-national activities and keeping links with terror outfits like the ISIS. Several members of the PFI in Kerala, Delhi, Uttarakhand, U.P. have been charge-sheeted in various offences, it noted.
The State submitted that Mr. Kappan and his co accused were involved in questionable financial transactions. Funds were received in crores of rupees. Mr. Kappan’s bank account reflected “various suspicious cash deposits on numerous occasions and is under investigation”.
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