A Mathura court today dropped proceedings on charges related to "breach of peace" against Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and three others.
, Ram Datt Ram, the sub-divisional magistrate of Mathura's Mant, dropped the proceedings as the police failed to complete its inquiry within the prescribed six-month period.
The four accused have been discharged of the following charges under the Criminal Procedure Code: arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences, security for keeping the peace in other cases, and inquiry as to truth of information.
Madhavan Dutt Chaturvedi, the defence lawyer of the four accused, : "Police couldn't provide evidence to substantiate charges of breach of peace within six months since the case began. The charges in this first case, on the basis of which the four had been detained in the first place, could not be proven. That could help in the other cases as well."
Kappan, Atiqur Rahman, Masoon Ahmed and Alam were arrested on October 5 while on the way to Hathras, where Kappan was going to report on the gangrape and death of a Dalit woman. They were initially arrested for causing a breach of peace and were later booked under the UAPA and charges of sedition. They have been in jail ever since.
The UP police have alleged that the three men and Kappan are linked to the Popular Front of India, an Islamist group, and were conspiring to inflame religious enmity and organise a “caste dispute” over the rape and murder of the Dalit woman in Hathras.
On April 30, the Supreme Court had to shift Kappan from a Mathura hospital to a government hospital in Delhi for treatment. Mathews had told the court that Kappan had been chained in the Mathura hospital and was so weak that he had collapsed in the washroom. He had also tested positive for Covid. He was admitted to AIIMS in Delhi, discharged on May 7, and brought back to Mathura Central Jail.