Eleven Members of Parliament from Kerala submitted a letter to the Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, seeking urgent hearing of the case of incarcerated journalist Siddique Kappan. THE WEEK first reported about the human rights violations faced by Kappan in KM Medical College, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
The letter by the MPs requested the Supreme Court to examine Kappan’s matter urgently and “provide him interim relief until the disposal of his Habeas Corpus application”. “It is shocking beyond words that such grave violation of human rights is happening in our India, a democracy,” reads the letter.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, too, requested his Uttar Pradesh counterpart to intervene and ensure that Kappan be given expert health care.
In a letter to Yogi Adityanath, Vijayan said the Kerala Union of Working Journalists and some prominent media persons had brought to his attention that Kappan suffered from heart ailments and had tested positive for COVID-19, due to which he was facing health issues.
Expert health care should be provided and he should be shifted to another super specialty hospital, where modern life saving facilities are ensured, the letter from the CM said.
Kappan’s wife Raihana had told THE WEEK on Saturday that he was handcuffed to a hospital bed in KM Medical College, and was denied even the “right to go to a toilet”. Kappan, who was lodged in Mathura Prison, was shifted to the hospital after he collapsed in the jail on April 20.
The Delhi-based journalist was arrested at Mathura by the Uttar Pradesh Police in October 2020 while on his way to Hathras to report on the gangrape and murder of a Dalit girl, which had triggered nationwide outrage. Kappan was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“After hospitalising (on April 20), he was tested positive for COVID-19. He called me today from somebody’s phone. He told me that the hospital authorities are not allowing him to go to the toilet. He is handcuffed to the bed and is not allowed to move. He is urinating in a plastic bottle. He is a human being. He has to go to the toilet too, right?” Raihana had told THE WEEK.
Kappan is a diabetic and has had high blood pressure and cholesterol for some time now. On April 22, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists had pleaded before the Supreme Court seeking his transfer from the Mathura hospital to All India Institute of Medical Sciences or Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, citing his deteriorating health. But the court is yet to have a hearing on the matter.
Kappan's advocate Wills Mathew also had sent a letter to the Chief Justice of India describing his condition. He is yet to receive a response from the CJI. Kappan’s Habeas Corpus petition is pending in the Supreme Court since October 6, 2020.