Organiser’s Associate Editor G Sreedathan has been receiving hate and threat messages from Islamists after ultra-Left propaganda website Newslaundry published a report alleging that he had given information about dubious journalist Siddique Kappan’s links with Popular Front of India (PFI) to UP Police.
According to Newslaundry’s Akanksha Kumar, a report published last year in the Malayalam section of the news portal, Indus Scrolls, started by Sreedathan, was the sole basis of UP Police’s 5,000-page charge-sheet against Kappan.
Kappan was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police on October 5 last year when he was on his way to Hathras along with two Popular Front of India (PFI) activists, allegedly to foment social trouble in the wake of a gangrape incident.
Newslaundry, which is doing a series about Kappan’s arrest, published an article on October 23 arguing “The case against Siddique Kappan is built largely on the statement given by a man (read G Sreedathan) whom Kappan had earlier accused of defamation.”
Author of the Newslaundry copy, Akanksha Kumar, who has earlier worked with NDTV and NewsClick, has tried to push the narrative that the UP Police had relied only on two less-than-500-word reports published by Indus Scrolls to prepare a 5,000-page charge sheet.
Sreedathan accused Kumar of pushing the Islamist agenda. “I don’t think she is too naïve to believe that the UP Police had built their case on the basis of our two small Malayalam reports. They have highly efficient officers and investigators and they know their job. By publishing such half-baked and fake stories aimed at building a narrative, Akansha is helping the Islamist cause. If the voluminous charge sheet was built on flimsy facts, why did the courts not give Kappan bail? Let them fight it in courts, not in media,” Sreedathan said.
The Newslaundry piece is also full of factual errors.
Reporter Kumar has tried to push the narrative that since Kappan had served defamation notice on Sreedathan, Organiser’s associate editor is settling scores with Kappan.
“Till this date, I have not received any defamation notice from anyone, leave alone Kappan. I don’t know Kappan personally. Indus Scrolls published the report on Kappan as his acts were anti-national. There were several questions about him and his activities under the cover of journalism. Since Kumar has access to the Islamist circles, I would request her to share a copy of the defamation notice with me. But more importantly, if Kumar is correct, the question is who has funded him, a freelance journalist with a measly salary, to engage a high-profile lawyer to file a defamation suit,” asked Sreedathan.
He added “There is a pattern in all the pro-Kappan reportage in the media recently. Egged on by the defense lawyers, journalists cull out small portions of the charge-sheet which they think is a weak point and blow them out of proportion to vilify police and influence public opinion. Courts of law are the best place to test the merit of the charge-sheet.”
Sreedathan alleged that a heavily-funded ‘Free Kappan’ campaign is underway. “Who is funding the campaign? Who is engaging highly-paid lawyers to fight his case? Instead of peddling fake news, the reporter should have focused on these crucial questions,” he said.
The chargesheet submitted by the Uttar Pradesh Police has established Kappan’s links with the PFI. Kappan’s arrest led to the arrest of fugitive SIMI terrorist Danish Abdullah, who was involved in several bomb blasts across the country. Kappan was in regular touch with Abdullah who is now in NIA custody.
The Newslaundry reporter Kumar deliberately misquoted G Sreedathan in the report and his repeated requests to rectify them went unheeded.
Another Malayalam daily journalist based at Patna was also threatened by Islamists for helping the UP Police in their investigation in the Kappan case. He has been given round-the-clock security by the police. Sreedathan said other journalists are not forthcoming to help the investigators fearing Islamist ire. “If Kappan has no Islamist links, why Islamists are up in arms against some journalists who they think might have helped UP Police in their investigation,” he asked.
Kappan’s wife had approached the Supreme Court for his bail but the Supreme Court did not grant bail to Kappan.