Mother Of Siddique Kappan, Kerala Journalist Jailed Over Hathras, Dies

Siddique Kappan - whose own health and medical condition is cause for concern - last visited his mother in February, when the Supreme Court granted him five days' bail

Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan's bail hearing is due before a UP court on June 22 (File)

New Delhi:

The mother of Siddique Kappan - the Kerala journalist arrested in October last year while on his way to Uttar Pradesh's Hathras to report on the alleged gang-rape of a Dalit woman - has died.

She was over 90 years old and had been ill for a long time. Her funeral will be held today, which means Mr Kappan will not be able to perform her last rites or say goodbye to her.

Siddique Kappan's bail hearing will come up before a trial court in UP's Mathura on June 22. 

Mr Kappan - whose own health and medical condition is cause for concern - last visited his mother in February, when the Supreme Court granted him five days' bail.

The court had said Mr Kappan could only speak to relatives and doctors treating his mother. He was escorted by cops at all times; UP Police was ordered to arrange for his travel and return.

Sources said Mr Kappan had then told his relatives to arrange an immediate funeral when she died.

With regard to his own health, Mr Kappan is a diabetic with blood pressure problems.

He also contracted COVID-19 while in prison.

In April, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, state MPs and the Editors Guild slammed his "inhuman treatment". His wife wrote to Chief Justice NV Ramana, saying he had been "chained like an animal".

The court then ordered Mr Kappan shifted to AIIMS or any Delhi government hospital for treatment.

To a complaint from the centre that there were no free beds in the national capital - then facing a crisis due to the second Covid wave - the court said: "You sort it out with the government".

Mr Kappan and three others were heading to Hathras to report on the alleged gang-rape when they were arrested and charged in multiple cases under the anti-terror law UAPA.

UP Police said they acted on a tip about "suspicious people".

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists, which moved the Supreme Court seeking bail for Mr Kappan, has denied allegations against him and has alleged he has been tortured in jail.

The UP government had opposed the bail request, alleging Mr Kappan masqueraded as a journalist from a defunct newspaper and that investigations had uncovered "shocking findings".

Earlier this week the Mathura court dropped one case - relating to apprehension of breach of peace - against Mr Kappan because police failed to complete inquiries within the six-month deadline.

They remain in jail on UAPA charges of sedition, conspiracy and raising funds for terrorist acts.

With input from PTI