Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], April 26 (ANI): Kerala opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala launched a protest march by members of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) on Monday demanding that journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested by the UP police and is now infected with COVID-19, be shifted to AIIMS for treatment.
Malayalee journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police for alleged "terror links" when he reportedly went to cover the Hathras rape case. He has tested positive for COVID-19 and his family has approached the government to ensure better treatment.
Suresh Vellimangalam, KUWJ Thiruvananthapuram district president said, "Siddique Kappan has been in jail for the last 204 days. Now he is sick. He was jailed by Uttar Pradesh police alleging he was a terrorist when he went there to report Hathras rape case. There was no evidence to prove that. He was jailed on basis of the police report. Now his health condition is critical. In the wake of this situation, KUWJ has staged protest marches across the state. We are also observing a black day in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and the Middle East where KUWJ has units."
"Our immediate demand is to ensure good treatment. He should be treated at AIIMS. Now he is chained in hospital and police allowed him to speak to his wife for only two minutes. His health condition is serious. Jail authorities treat him as a terrorist. Save his life and release Siddique Kappan who was detained unnecessarily," he added.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also wrote to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath, requesting him to ensure better medical treatment to Kappan, who has been in the custody of Uttar Pradesh Police since October last year.
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has filed a habeas corpus writ petition before the Supreme Court on April 22 seeking its immediate direction to transfer Kappan from Mathura hospital to AIIMS, New Delhi, due to his ill-health.
Kappan was arrested at a toll plaza near Hathras, while on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh in October last year, in connection with his reporting assignment to cover the alleged gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl.
An FIR had been registered under the UAPA in the case against Kappan by the Uttar Pradesh police. (ANI)
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