Journalist Siddique Kappan has deep links with PFI: UP govt tells SC

The UP government said the investigation has revealed clear links between the accused and PFI/CFI top leadership, namely Kamal KP and Oma Salaam.

PTIUpdated: Tuesday, September 06, 2022, 08:16 PM IST
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Jailed journalist Siddique Kappan | YouTube screengrab

Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan, arrested in October 2020 on way to Hathras where a Dalit woman had died after allegedly being gang-raped, has deep links with the PFI and is part of a larger conspiracy to "incite religious discord and spread terror", Uttar Pradesh government has told the Supreme Court.

Opposing the bail plea moved by Kappan, the UP government said the investigation has revealed clear links between the accused and PFI/CFI (Popular Front of India/Campus Front of India) top leadership, namely Kamal KP and Oma Salaam.

The state government said a perusal of the petitioner's online chats with the said persons clearly shows they are not merely, as claimed, in the course of his "work" as a journalist.

"The investigation has revealed that the Petitioner is part of the larger conspiracy with the co-accused (including the financial launderer of CFI, Rauf Sharif) to foment religious discord and spread terror in the country, especially in the wake of anti-CAA protests and violence, the Babri Masjid decision of this Court and the Hathras incident.

"The anti-national and terrorist PFI conspiracy and agenda dates back to 2010 (when PFI cadres (ex SIMI) had brutally maimed (hacked off the hands) of Christian Lecturer TJ Thomas of Newman College, and in 2013 when PFI-backed weapons training terrorist camp was raided by the Kerala police at Narath, an investigation which was later taken over by the NIA," the affidavit filed by the state government stated.

The UP government told the apex court it has come out in the investigation that the petitioner was actually part of the PFI/CFI delegation to meet the family of the Hathras victim and foment discord and spread terror.

It claimed the investigation has revealed that the said delegation was sent to Hathras on the direction of co-accused Rauf Sharif (National General Secretary, CFI, prime fund raiser and financial transaction handler for PFI/CFI), who had also provided finances for the trip.

The state government also submitted that Kappan has been unable to explain the source of the cash deposits of Rs 45,000 made in his account in September-October 2020.

"Thus, a clear prima facie case against the Petitioner has been established, who, at the directions of the top leadership of PFI, has been writing articles targeted at spreading communal tensions, fomenting riots and terror," it has alleged.

The top court had earlier sought a response from the Uttar Pradesh government on the bail plea of Kappan.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had earlier this month rejected the bail application of Kappan, who was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the alleged Hathras conspiracy case.

The journalist's plea has claimed the high court has failed to take note of the fact that the FIR or the charge sheet "ex-facie" does not make out a case for the invocation of sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The FIR has been filed under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the UAPA against four people having alleged links with the Popular Front of India (PFI).

The PFI had been accused in the past of funding protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act across the country and there have been calls to proscribe it.

The sexual assault victim died at a Delhi hospital a fortnight after her alleged rape by four men from her village on September 14, 2020.

She was cremated in the middle of the night in her village.

Her family members had claimed the cremation took place without their consent and that they were not allowed to bring home the body one last time.

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