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Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022
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NEW DELHI: Responding to the Supreme Court’s query on what material was found from Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan at the time of arrest in October 2020 and whether those materials were provocativ e to foment violence, the Uttar Pradesh government said only ‘toolkit’ pamphlets were found from the car he was travelling in towards Hathras to cover the the gangrape and murder of a Dalit g irl. Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the state, contended that the ‘toolkit’ contained procedures on how to handle, protest and incite violence. Reading out the documents, he sa id it contained instructions including on how to protect oneself during riots, how to escape tear gas shelling by police. But the court, after going through it, said it was something which was ta ken from a foreign country and not r elated to India and it talked about Black people.
The court said the pamphlet also talked about justice for Hathras gang rape victim and fighting for that cause could not be a crime. “See every person has the right to free expression and therefore he is trying to propagate an idea that there is this victim who requires justice and therefore let us raise a common voice. Is that something like a crime in the eyes of law?” the bench asked. The bench also referred to massive protests held in Delhi in 2012 in support of Nirbhaya and said, “Simil ar protests were held in 2012, you must remember at the India Gate. After that, there was a change in law. Sometimes these protests are necessary to highlight that there is a deficiency somewhere. So till now you have not shown anything which was provocative. ”
Jethmalani said police had recorded the statements of some PFI operatives who admitted that Kappan was part of the group which was asked to incite violence in the state in the name of caste and religion. He also said that the journalist was paid Rs 45,000 and was using two identity cards.
Senior advocate Kapil Siba l, appearing for Kappan, said his client was not prosecuted but persecuted by the state and the ‘toolkit’ was not even found from his possession but from a car in which three other people were also travelli ng. He said the toolkit was r elated to “Black Lives Matter” m ovement in the US and not to the Hathras case.
The court after hearing both the sides granted relief to Kappan, saying the alleged offensive literature claimed by the state in the form of ‘toolkit’ was not showing anything. It, however, made it clear that the court was not expressing any opinion on the merit of the case and its observations were confined to the bail plea. “The appellant shall be taken to the trial court within three days and shall be released on bail on conditionsa s deemed fit by the trial court. . . It shall be the condition of bail that the appellant shall stay within the jurisdiction of Nizamuddin area in Delhi for six weeks,” the bench said. “The appellant shall not misuse the liberty and shall n ot get in touch with any of the persons connected with the controversy,” it said.

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