Siddique Kappan is an Indian journalist and columnist. In 2020, he was arrested by the UP government under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), when he was going to Hathras to report the gang rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl by four men in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. In 2023, he was released after staying in prison for more than two years.
Siddique Kappan was born in 1980 (age 42 years; as of 2022) in Kerala. In 2013, he moved to Delhi.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 55 kg
Hair Colour: Black (semi-bald)
Eye Colour: Black
He belongs to a Muslim family in Malappuram, Kerala.
Parents & Siblings
His mother, Khadeeja Kutty, passed away in June 2021, at the age of 90, due to age-related ailments. He has a brother.
Siddique Kappan’s mother
Wife & Children
He is married to Raihanath Kappan. The couple has three children; two sons named Muzammil Kappan and Zidhan Kappan, and a daughter Mehnaz Kappan.
Siddique Kappan with his wife and elder son, Muzammil Kappan
Siddique Kappan’s wife and children
In 2009, he began working as a journalist for ‘Gulf Thejas Daily’ in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is a regular contributor to an independent Malayalam news portal, Azhimukham. He is known for covering the news related to crime, human rights, politics, and government persecution of journalists. He is the secretary of the Delhi unit of secretary of Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ). He used to write articles for a monthly Malayalam magazine ‘Prasadgan.’
Arrested For Reporting on the 2020 Hathras Gang Rape Case
On 5 October 2020, Siddique Kappan, along with Ateeq-ur-Rehman, Masood Ahmed, and Alam, was travelling to Hathras by car to cover the news of the 2020 Hathras gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl by four upper caste men. Their car was stopped by the Uttar Pradesh police at a toll plaza in Mathura, and he was arrested by the police, along with three others, for alleged “apprehension of breach of peace.” In the FIR filed against him, he was charged with Section 124A, 153A, and 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967 UAPA), and the Information Technology Act (2000 IT Act). In an interview, he shared that many people told him that he was arrested because he was a Muslim; however, he did not agree to that, and according to him, his identity as a journalist, and the fact that he belongs to Kerala, was the reason why he was arrested. He said,
I would not say that I was arrested because I am a Muslim. Everyone keeps saying that, but I don’t agree. I say I was arrested because I am a journalist and because I am from Kerala. I am a practising Muslim, but I believe that it was my identity as a journalist from Kerala which was used to target me.”
Timeline of Siddique Kappan’s case
On 9 September 2022, he was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India. U. U. Lalit, the then Chief Justice of India, ordered him to keep the police in Delhi updated about his activities for the next six weeks in Kerala; however, on 13 September 2022, it was revealed that he would be kept in jail due to a money laundering case filed against him by the Enforcement Directorate. In an interview, he revealed that he was shocked to hear that he was accused of a money laundering case of irregular transactions of only Rs 5000, which according to him was completely baseless as the legal procedure takes place only when the proceeds are Rs 1 crore or more. He said,
It came as a shock to me that I was accused of laundering money. Even the Allahabad High Court, while granting me bail, said that only irregular transactions of Rs 5,000 were alleged against me. An ED only has jurisdiction when the proceeds are Rs 1 crore or more. I was framed and kept in jail on charges which are totally baseless and won’t stand in any court.”
On 23 December 2022, the Allahabad High Court granted him bail in a case initiated against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). On 2 February 2023, he walked out of jail after being arrested for more than 2 years.
After his release from the Lucknow jail in February 2023, in an interview, he shared that he was kept in jail even after he was granted bail in December 2022; however, he will continue to fight for justice. He said,
This is half-baked justice. Journalism is not a crime. I will continue my fight against draconian laws. They kept me in jail even after I got bail… 28 months after a long fight. I don’t know who’s benefiting from my being in jail. These two years were very tough, but I was never afraid.”
In a 2021 interview, while talking about his salary, he revealed that he used to receive a monthly salary of Rs 26,500 at ‘Gulf Thejas Daily,’ and a sum of Rs 25,000 as a monthly salary at Azhimukham. He used to receive Rs 2000 for writing one article for Prasadgan.
- Siddique Kappan also goes by the name Sidheeq Kappan.
- In February 2021, Siddique Kappan received an interim bail of five days to visit his unwell mother.
- In April 2021, when he tested positive for COVID-19; he was admitted to a hospital for treatment within the premises of the prison in Mathura. Later, he was shifted to K.M Medical College in Mathura after his health got worse and after the treatment, he tested negative for COVID-19. Later, he returned to the Mathura Jail.
- In 2021, he was moved to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi for further treatment. Later, he again tested positive for COVID-19 in May 2021.
- In July 2021, many international news organisations demanded his release from jail. In an interview, International Press Institute (IPI) Deputy Director, Scott Griffen, condemned the arrest of Siddique Kappan and the “unacceptable ill-treatment” towards him. He said,
We are extremely concerned that Mr Kappan was targeted and detained due to his journalistic activity. In the absence of evidence justifying these accusations, all charges against Mr Kappan must be immediately dropped. The growing targeting of critical journalists in India is extremely concerning. All journalists in the country must be able to safely cover events in the public interest, without fear of harassment, detention or discrimination.”
- In October 2021, a ‘Black Day Protest’ meeting was organised by the Press Club of India, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, and the Delhi Union of Journalists at the Press Club for supporting Siddique Kappan.
Glimpses from Black Day Protest meeting in support of Siddique Kappan by Press Club of India, Kerala Union of Working Journalists, Delhi Union of Journalists at the Press Club today pic.twitter.com/SMxulqU2tk
— Press Club of India (@PCITweets) October 5, 2021
- In a 2021, interview, his wife, Raihanath Kappan, revealed that Siddique was tortured and beaten by UP police when he told them that he eats beef. She said,
He was asked by UP police if he used to eat beef. He said yes and was beaten up. Our family was not informed of his arrest, and we saw it on the news.”
- In an interview, he revealed that when he was staying in prison, he was not allowed to read Malayalam and English language books and was permitted to read only Hindi books; however, his lawyer helped him in getting permission to read English and Malayalam books.
- On 15 August 2022, Siddique Kappan’s daughter, Mehnaz Kappan, gave a speech on the occasion of India’s 76th Independence Day; she started the speech by talking about her father being in prison. She said,
I am Mehnaz Kappan. Daughter of journalist Siddique Kappan, a citizen who has been forced into a dark room by breaking all of the freedom of a citizen.”
- In a 2023 interview, when he was asked why he was interested in reporting the 2020 Hathras gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl, he replied that the dead body of the victim was burned without the permission of her family, which he found conspired and interesting.
- According to the Uttar Pradesh government, he is a member of the Popular Front of India, an Islamic political organisation in India, which was banned by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs in 2022 for 5 years.