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Kerala: CM Vijayan says UAPA charges against his party workers arrested over Maoist links will be scrutinised

According to the police, the two accused, Alan Suhaib and Thaha Fasal who hailed from Thalassery, were handing out pro-Maoist pamphlets and shouting pro-Maoist slogans when they were arrested from the Pantheerankavu market.

Facing severe protests over the arrests of two CPI(M) workers over alleged connection to Maoist terorists, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday took a u-turn to say that his government would examine the slapping of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) charges against the two CPI(M) party workers.

According to the reports, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan speaking to the media said that the government does not agree with UAPA. “Two youths have been arrested and they are facing charges under UAPA. Police had stated certain things. I have promised the parents of one of the arrested, who met me, that the government would examine the matter and adopt a stand,” he said.

However, the Kerala police had claimed that during the investigation it had solid evidence against two Communist party workers. The police had asserted that the duo had maintained contact with Maoist functionaries.

A review authority was constituted by the state government to analyse whether a case requires persecution under UAPA. Section 45 (2) of the UAPA Act mandates that the sanction for prosecution shall be given only after an authority formed for the purpose makes an independent review and makes a recommendation.

Former judge PS Gopinathan, chairman of the review authority of UAPA cases, said the mere recovery of pro-Maoist material is not enough to induce UAPA sections. “Mere recovery of Maoist-related documents would not be enough. Since the new authority came into effect from January 2018, around a dozen cases have come up before it seeking a recommendation for prosecution. But we have given sanction only for less half of them. The main drawback in the UAPA cases is a lack of evidence. The authority would recommend prosecution only if it is convinced about the evidence,” he said.

The Case:

The Kerala Police on Saturday had nabbed two workers of the Communist Party of India- Marxist for alleged links to the Maoists and for distributing pro-Maoist brochures that had criticised the police force’s Thunderbolt commandos-led killing of four Maoists in Kerala’s Palakkad district.

According to the police, the two accused, Alan Suhaib and Thaha Fasal who hailed from Thalassery, were handing out pro-Maoist pamphlets and shouting pro-Maoist slogans when they were arrested from the Pantheerankavu market. They have been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the Pantheerankavu police station in Kozhikode district.

The arrests of two CPI(M) workers by the communist Kerala government had caused further resentment against the CPM-led Left Front government in Kerala from within the party and the allies. The CPI, a key coalition partner of the CPI(M), had strongly alleged that the recent killing of four Maoists was a fake encounter.

Following discontent within the party, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought a report from State police chief Loknath Behera after the arrests triggered widespread criticism.

Earlier, CPI(M) Kozhikode district secretary P Mohanan said the police should review the act of invoking UAPA sections against the youths as it was done in a hasty manner. “Our party does not support Maoist ideology. We support only a democratic way of functioning. A detailed investigation should be conducted into this incident to bring to light the truth,” he demanded.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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