Siddique Kappan, the Kerala-based freelance journalist, has filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking contempt of court action against the Mathura jail, where he is currently lodged, and the Uttar Pradesh administration for forcibly discharging him from the hospital where he was undergoing Covid-19 treatment, Bar and Bench reported.
Despite clear direction from the apex court in April that he should be provided “adequate and effective medical assistance,” owing to his critical health condition, Kappan was shifted to jail even though he was Covid-19 positive and had blood sugar levels at 460, among various other medical problems, the journalist alleged in his plea.
Further, his petition stated that the act of discharging Kappan at midnight and depriving him of his sleep amounted to contempt of court. “The accused is still in need of the medical assistance, which was denied to him,” it added.
Kappan, who was arrested in October 2020 while covering the Hathras gang-rape case, had collapsed in the bathroom due to weakness and sustained serious injuries in April. He later tested positive for Covid-19. He was admitted to a Mathura hospital where he was “chained like an animal to a cot of the Medical College Hospital, Mathura, without mobility” and was unable to eat or visit the bathroom for over the four days, his wife had claimed in a petition seeking his transfer to a hospital in Delhi.
Following this, the Supreme Court had directed the UP government on April 28 to transfer Kappan to a hospital in New Delhi.
The Hathras case involves the rape of a Dalit girl by four upper-caste men on September 14, 2020 in Hathras. The victim succumbed to her injuries shortly thereafter, on September 29, in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital and was hurriedly cremated by the UP Police in the dead of the night, allegedly without her family’s consent, causing nationwide outrage.
On October 5, Kappan and three others were arrested by the UP Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act while on their way to cover the case. The FIR filed against them claimed that they intended “to breach peace” in Hathras as a part of a “conspiracy.”
On June 15, though he and three others were discharged of the breach of peace charges that they were arrested under, Kappan was denied bail on July 6 by a local court in Mathura, UP.
They have remained in jail as they continue to be booked under other non-bailable anti-terror laws.