COVID-19 positive arrested journalist Siddique Kappan handcuffed on hospital bed, says wife

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New Delhi: Journalist Siddique Kappan, who is lodged in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura prison since October 2020, has been denied the “basic human right to go to a toilet”, his wife Raihana Kappan told THE WEEK today. The Delhi-based journalist from Kerala is currently admitted to K.M. Medical College, Mathura.

Kappan was arrested at Mathura by the Uttar Pradesh Police in October 2020, while on his way to Hathras to report on the gangrape and murder of a Dalit girl, which had triggered nationwide outrage. The journalist was booked under the Draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

On April 20, he collapsed in the Mathura Jail bathroom and suffered serious injuries, Raihana said.

“After hospitalising, he was tested positive for COVID-19,” she told THE WEEK. “He called me today from somebody’s phone. He told me that the hospital authorities are not allowing him to go to the toilet. He is handcuffed to the bed and is not allowed to move. He is urinating in a plastic bottle. He is a human being. He has to go to the toilet too, right?”

On April 22, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists had pleaded before the Supreme Court, seeking his transfer from the Mathura hospital to All India Institute of Medical Sciences or Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, citing his deteriorating health.

“He have had fever for more than 10 days now,” Raihana said. “His chin was injured after collapsing in the bathroom. So, he is having difficulty in having food. But now, he somehow wants to get discharged from the hospital. If he is in the [Mathura] jail, he can at least go to the toilet.”

Wills Mathew, Kappan’s advocate, said that the latter is now in a “very bad” condition. He also said that he is preparing a letter to the Chief Justice of India describing his condition.

Kappan is a diabetic, and has had high blood pressure and cholesterol for more than 15 years, his wife said. “If you inquire with the medical superintendent, he would say ‘it is all good’,” Raihana said. “But when my husband called me today, his only request was to get him discharged somehow from the hospital so that he can go to the toilet.”