An Indian Muslim journalist has been granted bail, two years after his arrest by the country's northern state police who accused him with conspiracy to incite riots.
Siddique Kappan was given bail by the Indian Supreme Court on Friday after being arrested by police in northern Uttar Pradesh state in 2020 while on his way to report on the death of a lower-caste Dalit teenager days after she was gang-raped.
On September14, 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was gang-raped in the state's Hathras area, resulting in serious injuries and her death two weeks later.
The incident triggered widespread outrage and protests across the country.
The caste system in India divides Hindus into four main categories – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras.
Outside of this are Dalits, who are regarded as "untouchables" or socially excluded from upper caste Hindus.
A four-member bench granted release to the journalist, who worked for a regional Malayalam language news website and had been imprisoned since October 2020.
His bail plea was previously denied by lower courts, so he petitioned the Supreme Court for bail last month.
Wills Mathews, who represented Kappan's case in lower courts, confirmed to Anadolu Agency that the apex court has granted bail to the journalist.
He added that the court has ordered him to remain under the jurisdiction of the national capital New Delhi for the next six weeks and to report to local police stations every week.
The state authorities alleged in a charge sheet filed against the journalist that Kappan and the co-accused were travelling to Hathras with the purpose to disrupt the area's harmony.
The state administration also alleged that he had close ties to the Popular Front of India, a Muslim organisation accused by the federal government of having ties to "terrorist" outfits, which the organisation denies.