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March 3, 2021

Reporting about Dalit girl gang rape, death: Muslim reporter in India spent 150 days in jail

National

March 3, 2021

NEW DELHI: This week, a Muslim journalist in India will complete 150 days in jail after he was arrested on his way to report on the death of a Dalit teenager days after she was gang-raped, foreign media reported. Siddique Kappan, 41, was arrested in October while attempting to reach Hathras, a small town in Uttar Pradesh. On Sept 14, a 19-year-old Dalit young woman had been gang-raped by four men belonging to the Thakur community, an influential caste among Hindus. The young woman suffered serious injuries to her spinal cord due to assault and died two weeks later at a hospital in New Delhi, triggering nationwide protests. Dalits, the former “untouchables” who fall at the lowest rung of the complex Hindu caste hierarchy, have been subjected to systemic discrimination and violence for centuries. To make the matters worse, authorities in Hathras secretly cremated the young woman’s body on Sept 30, without the consent of her family, who alleged they were locked up in their house by the police. On October 5, the journalist was picked by Uttar Pradesh police.