Much has been made of how Siddique Kappan, the “journalist” who was arrested enroute to Hathras, has been unjustly arrested by the UP government. His incarceration has been compared with Arnab Goswami’s, with leftists bemoaning how Goswami has been granted bail, while Siddique Kappan continues to remain in custody. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had even met a delegation in Kerala, and assured his full support for the release of Kappan.
Today the UP government, in an affidavit, has revealed details around Siddique Kappan’s arrest to the Supreme Court. The UP govt says that Kappan had been using the “garb of journalism” to go to Hathras with a “very determined design to create a caste divide and disturb law and order situation.” Siddique Kappan had also been carrying the identity card of a Kerala-based paper named Thejas, which had been shut down in 2018.
While Siddique Kappan might have claimed to be a “journalist”, Thejas isn’t exactly what one would call a journalistic organization. Thejas was founded in 2006 as the mouthpiece of the militant Islamist organization Popular Front of India (PFI). After starting operations from Calicut, Thejas started editions from Trivandrum, Kochi, Kannur and Kottayam. By 2012, it had Gulf editions from Riyadh, Jeddah, Damman, Doha and Bahrain, as well an an online edition.
The paper however, was so extreme in its views that in 2010, the Communist government in Kerala stopped giving it advertisements, citing intelligence inputs about the nature of the paper’s coverage and its alleged attempts to create religious discord in the state. The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre followed suit, citing similar reasons.
The views of the paper were so extreme that it called Osama bin Laden a martyr after his death in a raid in Pakistan in 2011.
In October 2013, the district administration of Kozhikode issued a show-cause notice to the newspaper for spreading anti-national reports. In March 2014, Kerala Police registered a case against Thejas and some other media organizations, in response to a petition accusing of insulting religious sentiments. The paper was eventually shut down in 2018.
Siddique Kappan was carrying an ID card of the Thejas paper when he was arrested while on the way to Hathras. The police also recovered pamphlets from him which spoke about “Justice for the Hathras victim”, which appears to be strange thing for a journalist who was looking to dispassionately cover a case to carry. While the left keeps calling Kappan a journalist, his association with the Thejas paper would lead one to wonder if journalism was really his chief concern when he’d attempted to enter Hathras using an expired ID card.