Kappan was arrested while proceeding to cover the Hathras gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit women in October 2020.
Malayali journalist Siddique Kappan was released from jail after 28 months of imprisonment on Thursday, 2 February.
He walked out of a Lucknow prison after sureties required for his bail were submitted on Wednesday, 1 February.
Delhi-based Kappen was picked up by the Uttar Pradesh police from a toll plaza in Mathura on 5 October 2020. The journalist and three others were proceeding to Hathras to cover the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman.
The police alleged that Kappan had links with the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI) and charged him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code.
The Allahabad High Court granted bail to Kappan on Friday, 23 December, in a case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The Supreme Court had on 9 September granted bail to him in the Hathras conspiracy case.
Speaking to journalists after his release, Kappan said that “it is a happy moment” that he is finally able to walk out of jail after 28 months of imprisonment.
“I have been reporting on the UAPA and Dalit issues for the past 15 years. Such a person fell victim to the same law. I have been behind the bars for 28 months and was wrongly accused of many crimes and was branded a terrorist,” he told reporters.
He also said it is because of the tireless effort from the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), interferences by the media, people of Kerala, and across the country and world that he was freed.
In an earlier Interview with South First, Raihanath Kappan, wife of Kappan, said an innocent man has been jailed for nearly two-and-a-half years.
“It is true that he had credited ₹25,000 through a CDM. What is the fault in it? There is evidence for remitting the amount. Still, he was put behind the bars and branded a terrorist,” she said.
“If this is the case with a journalist, what would happen to a common man,” Raihanath wondered.
The woman added that her family has been after the case to get him released.
“No one could erase the emotional trauma we endured, the financial problems we faced in our life. But we are happy now,” she said hoping to receive him soon at their residence in Malappuram’s Vengara.
Kappan was initially arrested on suspicion of breaching peace but was later charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
It was alleged that Kappan and his co-passengers were trying to foment communal riots and disrupt social harmony post the notorious gang rape and murder.
The journalist was charged under Sections 17/18 of the UAPA, Sections 120B, 153A/295A of the Indian Penal Code, and 65/72 of the IT Act.
Kappan approached the Supreme Court earlier after the Allahabad High Court upheld a Mathura court rejected his bail application. The High Court then observed that he had “no work” at Hathras.
A bench of the then Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat granted him bail. While granting him bail, he was directed to appear before the Delhi police for six weeks and later report to the Kerala police.