My heart is my first court, there I am innocent: Siddique Kappan

16 February, 2023

The journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested, on 5 October 2020, while travelling from Delhi to report on the gang rape of a Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. He was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, among other stringent laws. After being released on 2 February, having spent almost twenty-eight months in jail, he gave his version of events to The Caravan.

Amrita Singh: How do you feel after being incarcerated for over two years?

Siddique Kappan: Right now, I am happy. I was arrested for doing something good as a reporter, not because of any other problem. A woman was subjected to abuse. This happens routinely in UP, but I was interested in this case because the police had forcefully cremated her. Because of this, I felt a doubt: why was the police so interested in hiding this incident? I went to report on that. The police and government’s allegation was that I went to incite a riot, to increase enmity between communities.

My heart is my first court. There, I am innocent. That is why I am happy that, for two years and four months, I stayed in jail. Not for my family, but for a girl from India who went through this. I was stopped and asked, “You are a Muslim, why are you interested in this?” I told them, “I’m not a Muslim, I’m a journalist. This is not a Hindu–Muslim issue. This is an issue about a woman’s honour, India’s honour.”