Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan proudly reveals his 'stamp of freedom' after 28 months in prison

Siddique Kappan (right) shows the 'chappa' on his hand upon release from prison. Photos: Screenshots

"I feel the fresh air of freedom," said Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan as he walked out of the district jail in Lucknow 28 months after being arrested while on a reporting assignment to Hathras.

With fellow-journalists queuing up to get his reaction, Kappan pulled up the left cuff of his jacket to reveal circular ink marks that he said were "the chappa (stamp) of my freedom".

"After 28 months I have been stamped with my freedom," Kappan told mediapersons with a gentle but confident smile. The stamp was a marker of his release from the prison.

"I'm thankful to the media and the general public," said Kappan, who will be returning to Kerala after spending the next six weeks in Delhi.

Kappan had been arrested with three others in October 2020 en route to Hathras where a Dalit woman had been killed after alleged gangrape.

He was accused of instigating violence and charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Last September the Supreme Court granted him bail.

But during the more than two years that he spent in prison "on fake charges", Kappan lost more than his freedom.

Last June, his mother Khadeeja Kutty passed away after prolonged illness. "That my beloved mother won't be home to receive me when I get there is my biggest pain," Kappan said.

He also added how he lost several friends and brothers, mainly to COVID, during the time he was in prison. "Many of my brothers are still in jail. Those who were arrested with me are still languishing in prison."

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