By Gowtham K
Thiruvananthapuram: Family members of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police three months ago, staged a sit-in protest here in front of the Kerala government Secretariat here on Tuesday demanding the intervention of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to set him free.
“My ikka (husband) has not done anything wrong; yet, he has been in jail for the last three months. I want the Kerala Chief Minister to intervene, to talk to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and pave the way for my husband’s release,” said Kappan’s wife Raihanath.
Reaiheanath (37) alleged that her husband was tortured by the Uttar Pradesh police and asked him to name any CPI (M) leaders in order to escape from his ordeal.
“They tortured him while he was arrested. They tortured him saying he is a Keralite. Kappan told me and our lawyer that the UP police asked him to name some CPI(M) leaders so that he can escape from the orderal,” she said while speaking to reporters.
“They also asked why Rahul Gandhi visited our house and whether Kappan eats beef. They accused him of having assets worth Rs 100 crore. But just see our house and everyone will understand how much we have,” she added.
Hamsa, elder brother of Kappan, said the Kerala chief minister had said that the government was unable to interfere in the matter as it was outside the state.
“We had written a letter to CM seeking his intervention in the matter. But we got a reply saying the government was unable to interfere as it was outside the state. This dharna is to demand the intervention of the CM in the matter. We hope he will. We have been requesting everyone. They (UP police) have not even presented any evidence in the matter,” Hamsa said.
Reaiheanath said the health of Kappan”s mother, who is 90, was deteriorating and needed help for everything.
She along with her three minor children and Siddique’s brother and two sisters, travelled from their native in Malappuram district on Tuesday morning to start the sit-in protest.
On January5, the judicial custody of Kappan and three others–Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood, and Alam–was extended by 90 days who were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on October 5, on his way to Hathras to reportedly speak to the family of the 19-year-old woman who died after she was allegedly gang-raped.
Since the Supreme Court is yet to consider the habeas corpus petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), Reaiheanath (37) is running from pillar to post seeking justice for Kappan and her family.