A Mathura court on Tuesday dropped three bailable charges against journalist Siddique Kappan and three others, Live Law reported. Kappan, a Kerala-based journalist, has been in prison since October for trying to report on the Hathras gangrape case.

The four accused will, however, continue to remain in jail, since the charges under non-bailable offences remain against them. Kappan has been charged under the sedition law and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

On Tuesday, a sub-divisional magistrate in Mathura dropped charges under Sections 151, 107 and 116 of Criminal Procedure Code, as the police failed to complete the inquiry against Kappan and other accused within the prescribed period of six months, Live Law reported.

The charges are related to apprehension of breach of peace by an individual and prevention of commission of cognisable offences. Atikur Rahman, Aalam and Masood were the other accused who were relieved from the charges.

Case against Kappan

Kappan, a journalist for the Malayalam news portal Azhimukham, was arrested in October while he was on his way to report on the Hathras case, in which a 19-year-old Dalit woman had died on September 14 after four upper caste man gangraped her.

Three other men who were in the car with him were also arrested for similar offences.

The police claimed that Kappan was arrested because he was going to Hathras as part of a conspiracy to create law and order trouble and foment caste riots. They claimed that Kappan and others were part of the Popular Front of India, a hardline Muslim organisation that authorities accuse of having links with extremist groups. The Kerala Union of Working Journalists has denied the police’s accusation.

In its chargesheet, the police alleged that Kappan and others received funds of about Rs 80 lakh from financial institutions in Doha and Muscat to create trouble.

Earlier this month, Kappan moved a regular bail plea to the Mathura district court, submitting that there were no documents to support the allegations made in the chargesheet. His plea will be heard on June 22, according to Bar and Bench.