The Hathras attack that saw a young girl allegedly raped and murdered had shaken the nation. Both the allegations surrounding her death and the subsequent late night cremation of the victim had triggered massive outrage. With the local administration briefly blocking entry to the area, political leaders had clashed with officials, journalists had camped outside the perimeter of the village and people as far away as Delhi and West Bengal had taken out protests in solidarity with the victim.
Against this backdrop, journalist Siddique Kappan from Kerala and three others had been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh while on their way to Hathras. Later, they were charged under the UAPA and with sedition. Reportedly, the FIR against them includes Section 17 of the UAPA that deals with raising funds for a terrorist act.
Since then, as Kappan continues, to remain in custody, his family has met with Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, urging him to intervene. They had urged the Congress leader to ensure the early release of the journalist, apparently receiving a favourable response.
"Rahul Gandhi has agreed to provide all assistance for my husband's release. He was going after Rahul Gandhi during his Hathras visit when he was arrested. We are concerned as even lawyers haven't been able to meet him," said a family member of the journalist.
Officials had earlier said that one of the four arrested individuals, Masood Ahmed, had been linked to the student wing of PFI known as Campus Front of India. While some reports suggest that Siddique Kappan is part of the PFI, there has been no official information to confirm the same.
(With inputs from agencies)