Siddique Kappan, Umar Khalid vs the Punitive Fetish of the State – By Karan Tripathi
On 25 April, a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University and rights activist Umar Khalid tested positive for COVID-19…. Khalid’s infection is “directly attributable” to no one but the negligence of the Delhi government…. By virtue of his custody, his good health was the direct responsibility of the state government under Article 21 of the Constitution and Delhi Prison Rules.
Khalid is not a standalone victim of the state’s “punitive fetish”. In Uttar Pradesh, journalist Siddiqque Kappan also contracted the deadly virus while in judicial custody as a pre-trial prisoner in Mathura jail.
Kappan’s role in the state’s “theatre of punishment” didn’t end there. The next ‘Act’ was played out in Mathura’s KM Hospital where he was taken for his COVID treatment. Kappan’s wife, Raihanth, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India narrating how her husband is “chained like an animal to a cot” and “has not been able to go to toilet for four days”….