Following the killing of seven Maoists in Attappadi forests in Palakkat, Kerala Police has arrested two CPM activists under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Incidentally, CPM has been opposing the UAPA tooth and nail since its very inception. They tried their level best to campaign against the Act in their strongholds during the days it was introduced.
Now, the Kerala Police has slapped UAPA against two youths in Kozhikode, who are reported to be cadres of CPM. They were alleged to have possessed and distributed pro-Maoist pamphlets. Tahal Fazal and Alan Shuhaib, students of journalism and law respectively, were arrested during the morning hours of Saturday 2nd November. Both are reported to be the branch committee members of CPM.
Even though CPM demands the reiew of the police action, police sticks to its gun and maintains that UAPA can not be revoked. Police say that the arrested youths are facing Section 20, 28 and 39 of UAPA. It adds that both of the accused have Maoist links and they have enough details to prove its stand. The youths were under their observation for some time. Both are suspected Maoists but were operating under the camouflage of CPM workers. Police also said that they were “Urban Maoists” and have been liaisoning with their comrades in the forest.
The same evening, the magistrate remanded the boys in judicial custody for 14 days. Northern Zone IG of Police Asok Yadav said, UAPA would not be revoked. Police actions are evidence-based with sufficient documentary evidence. The youths were found by the patrol team of the police on Friday night. They were seen under suspicious circumstances within the Kozhikode city limit. When the youths tried to escape, police could seize the pro-Maoist leaflets. They were attacking the state government for the killings of 7 Maoists in the forest the previous week.
Police has reportedly got more leaflets when they searched the boys’ houses. CPM Area Commmittee and CM Pinarayi Vijayan expressed their dissatisfaction on Saturday itself. CM asked the DG of Police to review the step taken. P Mohanan, the CPM Kozhikode district secretary say, UAPA is not acceptable to them.
Now, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury has expressed his protest against slapping UAPA. In fact, Pinarayi Vijayan had told the Kerala Assembly during the month of May that no political activist would be booked under UAPA. M.A. Baby, a CPM Politburo member and prominent leader from Kerala, has expressed his protest against the police action. CPM state secretariat has protested too. Ministers are not speaking in the same language in this respect.
CPI’s protest has been led by its state secretary Kanam Rajendran. CPM and LDF have been a divided houses since the Attappadi killings of the Maoists. Now UAPA issue serves as an insult to the injury. People believe that CM Pinarayi, despite presiding over the home ministry, does not have any control on the police. Political observers demand that he quit the home portfolio.
BJP leaders have stated that arrest of CPM men for Maoist links vindicate party’s old stand that both Maoists and CPM are birds of the same feathers.