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Arrest of 2 CPM Workers under UAPA Becomes Bone of Contention Between Oppn, Kerala Govt

Taha Fasal and Alan Suhaib, who are active members of the CPIM and students of journalism and law were arrested after they were found to possess pamphlets that police claimed contained Maoist ideology.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:November 5, 2019, 9:25 AM IST
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Arrest of 2 CPM Workers under UAPA Becomes Bone of Contention Between Oppn, Kerala Govt
File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

Thiruvananthapuram: The arrest of two Communist Party of India (CPIM) activists over alleged links to Maoist organizations, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) has put chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the dock.

The youths, Taha Fasal and Alan Suhaib, who are active members of the CPIM and students of journalism and law were arrested after the police seized pamphlets, laptops and phone from them, that contained material in support of Maoist ideology. Taha Fasal’s family, however, alleged that he had been compelled him to raise Maoist slogans after the police threatened to slap a doping case on him.

But, the police maintains that they have evidence of the two having Maoists links.

Ironically, the CPIM has time and again vehemently opposed the use of UAPA, terming it as the "black law". And following the recent arrest, leaders within the CPI(M) itself lashed out against the police and Pinarayi Vijayan himself and asked the government to reconsider the case.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) constituents and the CPI(M) also expressed their dismay unhappy over issue.

The matter was also brought up during the state assembly by the opposition. Congress' Ramesh Chennithala said that the authorities are coming for the communists even now, but “instead of Hitler, it is Pinarayi Vijayan in the chair”.

Even as he expressed his supporting to the police, the CM reiterated in the assembly that the UAPA is a 'black law", and its misuse will not be allowed. Although he refused to quash the arrest and quoted the police report about the pamphlets containing Maoist ideology, he Vijayan promised a detailed inquiry into the case.

The bail of these two youngsters will come up before the court on Wednesday when the defense will try to quash UAPA charges in the district court itself, which would be unusual given it’s a UAPA case.

Meanwhile, Taha Fasal's family including his mother remain anxious over the verdict. "The party people have given us the assurance that he will be fine. They have promised their support and we believe that “the mother said.

CPI(M)'s area committee from where the youngsters was arrested had also passed a resolution demanding that the charges be absolved. Justice PS Gopinathan, heading the government-appointed-UAPA committee granted permission for prosecution saying that the mere possibility of such pamphlets doesn’t warrant UAPA.

"I am not fully aware of the facts of this particular case. They can be charged under UAPA if they were distributing pamphlets propagating the ideology,” Gopinathan said.

A government sanction is required before a chargesheet is filed following the police inquiry. It is this authority that will give recommendations on whether one can be charged under the UAPA.

However, with the CPI(M) consistently expressing their consternation in the issue, it is likely to remain a thorn for the CM and the left government in the state for sometime.

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