Opposing bail ahead of the hearing on Friday, the Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court that Siddique Kappan was using journalism as a "cover" to meet the Hathras victim's family to spread terror and foment religious discord. He has a deep nexus with extremist Popular Front of India (PFI) and its chapters including Campus Front of India (CFI), the government reply said.
UP government filed a reply in response to Kappan's plea against the August 2 Allahabad High Court order denying him bail. Kappan was arrested by UP police on October 5, 2020 while he was en route to Hathras to cover the death of a Dalit girl who was allegedly gang-raped by locals.
According to a plea filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), Kappan was going to meet the victim's family when he was picked up and charged with provisions under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Kappan has deep nexus with PFI and wanted to spread religious discord: UP to SC
A probe revealed that Kappan is part of the larger conspiracy with the co-accused Rauf Sharif, Campus Front of India (CFI) member, to foment religious discord and spread terror in the country, especially in the wake of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 protests, Supreme Court's 2019 decision in the Babri Masjid title dispute case and the Hathras incident, the UP government said.
The affidavit filed on Monday said Kappan used to work with Gulf Thejas Daily, a so-called newspaper/publication which has blatantly espoused terrorist causes. 'Thejas'—a Malayalam language paper—is a PFI mouthpiece with six editions in Kerala and international bureaus in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain. The publication was compelled to shut down in India in 2018 amidst reports that the paper's coverage was aimed at creating religious discord, the reply added.
Kappan was using journalism as a cover-up and his co-passengers are previously accused in riots cases, the UP government said. If Kappan was really a journalist and exercising his professional duties as claimed, then why would he be traveling with known riot accused persons, the reply asked.
At the time of his detention, Kappan was found with three sets of a 17-page pamphlet with the front page having the words "Justice for Hathras victim" and another page having the words "Am I not India's Daughter (made with Carrd). A perusal of the pamphlet revealed that it was nothing more than a "Rioting 101" for rioters, which included teaching them how to conceal themselves from the police, which "riots" to attend, to "recognize the place you are rioting in".
The state government added that Kappan couldn't explain the Rs 45,000 in his account which according to a probe was intended to conduct a "secret workshop" and fund his Hathras trip.
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