One year of Siddique Kappan's arrest: Journalists protest in Delhi
New Delhi: Members of various journalist unions staged a demonstration outside the Press Club of India (PCI) here on Tuesday demanding immediate release of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan who has been in jail for a year and charged by the Uttar Pradesh Police with terror offences.
"Today, we have organised this programme to mark completion of one year of Kappan being in jail. He was arrested even before going to the spot. Till date he is behind bars. We are fighting for a free media. There should be no curbs on the media if someone is going to a spot to report," said PCI president Umakant Lakhera.
"Spot and investigative reporting is dying day by day. We are appealing to the highest judiciary of the country to release Kappan and to quash the charges against him," he added.
Members of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), PCI and the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) joined the protest.
DUJ general secretary Sujata Madhok said, "We have gathered here today because it has been one year since the jailing of Kappan and others who were accompanying him and were not journalists.... The judiciary must take action. You cannot indefinitely jail people."
Kappan and three others were arrested by the Mathura police in Uttar Pradesh on October 5 last year when they were on their way to a village in Hathras to meet the family members of a Dalit girl who had died after being gang-raped.
The four were arrested on the apprehension of causing a breach of peace, but were later slapped with stringent charges of sedition and being involved in various terror offences.
Meanwhile, family members and friends of Atiqur Rahman of the Campus Front of India, who was arrested along with Kappan, addressed the media at PCI and demanded the release of all four.
Delhi University professor Apoorvanand alleged that the charges filed against the four accused are fabricated.
"I have come in solidarity with these people who were arrested while going to Hathras and (under) totally fabricated charges in a very unjust manner. They are languishing in jails for one year. They must be given bail because we don't see trial taking place soon...," he claimed.
Rahman's wife Sanjeeda Rahman said that her husband needs immediate medical assistance.
"His condition is not well. He has to go to AIIMS for medical assistance. My kids ask me where is our father? What can I say to them? Please help me getting justice and release him from jail," she said.
Rajya Sabha MP L Hanumanthaiah said, "I have come here from Bengaluru to address the press conference in support of the people who are arrested on sedition cases and have been in jail without trial even after one year.... I want all the people...to get bail."