NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India on Monday said it is deeply disturbed by reports of “inhuman treatment” being meted out to Siddique Kappan, a journalist from Kerala who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police while on his way to Hathras, and demanded that he be given proper medical care as well as be treated with dignity.
In a statement, the Guild also urged the Supreme Court to urgently take up the pending writ petition on Kappan’s arrest and give him a fair trial.
The Guild said it is deeply disturbed by reports of “inhuman treatment being meted out to the journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been in custody since October 2020, under the draconian UAPA, for trying to report on the rape and death of a Dalit girl in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh”.
His wife has alleged that her husband has been tied to a bed and is neither able to take food nor access toilet, while undergoing treatment at a Mathura hospital for Covid-19, the Guild said.
“This is shocking and should stir the conscience of the nation that a journalist is being treated in this cruel manner and being denied basic rights,” it said.
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The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has been ignoring the demands from his family and the civil society for fair treatment of the journalist, the Guild alleged.
“It is further shocking that the Supreme Court of India has yet not intervened in this case to ensure a fair trial of the journalist, even though the Habeas Corpus petition challenging his arrest has been pending before the court for the past six months,” it said.
The Guild recalled that it had written a letter to the Chief Minister of UP in November 2020, highlighting several instances of state persecution and violence against journalists, including Kappan.
The Guild demands that Kappan be given proper medical treatment at the earliest and that he be treated with dignity, the statement said.
The wife of Siddique Kappan has written to Chief Justice of India N V Ramana seeking his immediate release from a hospital, alleging he is “chained like an animal in a cot” there.
Kappan, arrested on October 5 last year while on the way to Hathras which was home to a young Dalit woman who died after being gang-raped allegedly by four upper-caste men, is currently lodged in Medical College Hospital, Mathura, after he was found positive for COVID-19 on April 21.