Journalist Siddique Kappan released on bail after 850 days behind bars
On Wednesday, a city court signed orders to release him, over a month after he got bail in both cases against him.
Journalist Siddique Kappan was released on bail from the Lucknow District Jail on Thursday morning after having spent 850 days behind bars.
His lawyer Dhanish KS told Scroll that his wife Raihana and son received him outside the prison.
Addressing reporters, Kappan said it was a “long fight” to walk out of the prison, NDTV reported. “I will continue my fight against draconian laws,” he added. “I don’t know who’s benefiting from my being in jail. These two years were very tough, but I was never afraid.”
He also said that false allegations were levelled against him.
As per the bail conditions laid down by the Supreme Court, Kappan has to stay in Delhi for the next six weeks and report to the city’s Nizamuddin police station on every Monday.
On Wednesday, a city court signed orders to release the journalist on bail, Live Law reported.
Kappan was arrested on October 5, 2020, along with three other men while they were travelling to Hathras, where a Dalit woman was gangraped and killed by four upper-caste Thakur men on September 14, 2020.
The police first accused Kappan of intending to start a caste-based riot and create communal disharmony. Subsequently, sedition charges and provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were added.
In February 2021, the Enforcement Directorate filed a case against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The central agency had claimed that Kappan and three others had received money from the now-banned Popular Front of India to “incite riots”.
On September 9, the Supreme Court had granted bail to Kappan in the UAPA case, while on December 23, the Allahabad High Court gave him bail in the money laundering case too. However, despite the bail orders, Kappan remained in jail for over a month due to bureaucratic delays.
Also read: Why journalist Siddique Kappan and his co-accused are languishing in jail – despite getting bail
On Wednesday, district and sessions judge Sanjay Shanker Pandey directed the Lucknow prison superintendent to release Kappan if he is not wanted in any other case.
On January 5, Mohammed Alam, one of the co-accused in the UAPA case, was released from jail. Alam was driving the taxi that Kappan and two others were travelling in on their way to Hathras in October 2020.
However, two other accused persons in the case – Atik Ur Rehman and Masood Ahmad – continue to be behind bars.
“We have filed bail application in the High Court and are waiting for the state to reply,” said advocate Saifan Shaikh.