The Supreme Court has been asked to order the transfer of jailed journalist Siddique Kappan from Mathura to AIIMS in New Delhi when he collapsed in prison after testing positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, his lawyer said.
Kappan is in Mathura Prison in connection with an alleged conspiracy to spark religious hostility over the Hathras incident in which a Dalit woman was killed last September after allegedly raping her.
While state police have alleged that Kappan was part of the plot to disturb the peace in Hathras, his lawyer claims he will be reporting on the case.
Attorney Wills Mathews filed a motion to relocate from Kappan to AIIMS on Thursday on behalf of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and the journalist’s wife.
“On Thursday we mentioned in court that Kappan is critical after testing positive for Covid-19. He collapsed in the toilet from weakness. We asked the court to move him to Delhi as he cannot adapt in Mathura where he is served chapati and dal which is not his staple food. This has led to deterioration in health over time. Therefore it is urgently necessary to refer him to AIIMS in Delhi for better treatment. The most important aspect of recovering from Covid-19 is immunity. His immunity is weak because the food he is served is not what he is used to. We are not saying that he should have large meals, but something that he can eat to stay healthy, ”Mathews told The Indian Express.
Shailendra Maitreyi, superintendent of Mathura Prison, said Kappan is currently being treated in a hospital for Covid-19. “He tested positive on Wednesday. I can’t tell what hospital he’s in, but he’s not in the prison hospital, ”he added.
When asked about the health of the journalist, the superintendent said: “He will be treated in a hospital who will contact us if he needs to be discharged or if he needs to be referred to a better medical facility. The hospital officials have not contacted us, which means that a situation has not yet arisen. “
Kappan has been charged under IPC Sections 124A (riot), 153A (encouraging hostility) and 295A (outrageous sentiments), the strict UAPA, and relevant sections of IT law.