Lucknow: The Popular Front of India (PFI) activist and Kerala freelance journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been under arrest since October last year, tested positive for Covid-19 in Mathura Jail, Uttar Pradesh.
About 38 other jail inmates in Mathura Jail have also tested positive. Kappan was admitted to the jail hospital but later shifted to K.M. Hospital in Mathura when he developed a severe breathing problem.
Kappan was arrested on October 5 2020 y the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) along with three other PFI activists when they were travelling to Hathras after the infamous gang rape and murder case of a Dalit girl. Incriminating documents were seized from their possession.
They were charged with fomenting communal trouble and inciting violence. Kappan was also charged with raising funds from abroad to carry out anti-India activities across the country. The case is being probed separately by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The STF had filed a charge-sheet against Kappan and seven others in a Mathura Court on April 3 2021 slapping sedition and other charges including attempts to incite violence and communal hatred under Sections 124 A, 153 A, 295 A of the IPC along with UAPA and IT Act.
Earlier, Kappan was given a five-day conditional bail by the Supreme Court on February 14 2021 to visit his ailing mother in Kerala. He was directed to stay at home and not to meet anyone during his visit.
The Mathura Court has fixed May 1 as the date to hold arguments on framing charges against Kappan and seven other PFI activists on the UP STF charge-sheet. The accused have also filed an application pleading the court to drop cases against them.