New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said he was deeply disturbed by reports of inhuman treatment meted out to Siddique Kappan, a journalist from Kerala who was arrested earlier by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police while on his way to a protest site in Hathras.
He demanded that proper medical treatment be given to Kappan and lashed out at the UP government for imprisoning reporters on a quest for truth.
Earlier, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal had sought the intervention of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath in providing medical facilities to Kappan, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for trying to report on the rape and death of a Dalit girl in Hathras. He has been in custody since October 2020.
Kappan, who is being treated in the Mathura Medical College, had recently tested positive for coronavirus and is facing severe health problems, compounded further by diabetes and heart issues.
Venugopal said it was all the more shocking to learn that "he is being denied basic human rights as he remains handcuffed and chained to his bed making him unable to have his meals properly or even use the bathroom for the last few days".
The Editors Guild of India too had demanded proper medical care and dignified treatment of Kappan. It also urged the Supreme Court to urgently take up the pending writ petition on Kappan's arrest and give him a fair trial.
The Guild recalled that it had written a letter to the Chief Minister of UP in November 2020, highlighting several instances of state persecution and violence against journalists, including Kappan.
The apex court will consider the demand to transfer Kappan to Delhi AIIMS on Tuesday. The case was registered after 11 Congress MPs from Kerala wrote to the Chief Justice informing him that Kappan was in poor health.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan too had written to his UP counterpart requesting that Kappan be given proper treatment.