New Delhi: Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been under arrest since October last year, tested positive for Covid-19 and has been admitted to a hospital.
According to his lawyer, Wills Mathews, Kappan was admitted to the KM Medical College in Mathura Wednesday morning.
Mathews told ThePrint that besides Kappan, 50 other inmates from Mathura jail have also tested positive for the virus.
Kappan was arrested on 5 October 2020, along with three others, while he was on his way to Hathras to report on the alleged gang rape and death of a Dalit woman.
A five-member team of Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force (STF) filed a charge sheet against him and seven others in a Mathura court on 3 April, accusing them of sedition and allegedly attempting to incite violence in Uttar Pradesh.
The charge sheet has been filed under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Information Technology Act.
The court has set 1 May as the next date for hearing the case. Meanwhile, the accused have filed an application seeking a direction to drop all proceedings in the absence of a prosecution sanction against them.
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Habeas corpus pending for 6 months
A day after Kappan’s arrest on 5 October last year, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) had filed a habeas corpus petition, challenging his custody.
The petition argued that the arrest was illegal and unconstitutional and contended that Kappan’s detention violates his fundamental rights under articles 14 (right to equality), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
However, this habeas corpus has been pending before the apex court for over six months now, along with his regular bail application that was filed more than five months ago.
He was granted a five-day interim bail to meet his ailing 90-year-old mother, earlier in February.
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