Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Maoist in jail for 6 years gets bail from Orissa High Court after SC nudge

Nachika Linga is likely to be released once the trial court executes the order.

Updated: Nov 04, 2020, 22:03 IST

By Debabrata Mohanty, Hindustan Times Bhubaneswar

A key Maoist leader, who has been in jail for six years, in Odisha was on Wednesday granted bail by the Orissa High Court, a week after the Supreme Court asked it to dispose of his bail petition expeditiously.

The single judge bench of justice AK Mishra, granted bail to 47-year-old Nachika Linga’s lawyer Prashant Jena said the court did not set any conditions for his bail and left it to the trial court in Koraput for the same. Linga is likely to be released once the trial court executes the order.

Linga, who headed the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, an overground organisation of CPI-Maoists in Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon blocks of Odisha’s Koraput district, had surrendered before the Odisha police in October 2014 near his village Podapadar. The Maoists, who had joined hands with Linga, had accused him of weakening the tribal agitation by joining hands with the BJD.

A bonded labourer in Narayanpatna, Linga shot to prominence in 2006 when he formed the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh that captured some 50 acres of non-tribal land in the Podapadar gram panchayat of Narayanpatna block of Koraput district. He was swiftly arrested and charged with several cases, including one of being a Maoist.

He was acquitted of all charges in 2008. In 2008, he, along with some CMAS members, formed another outfit called Ghenua Bahini whose members wore red shirts and were armed with traditional tribal weapons like bows and arrows. His group forcibly encroached lands of non-tribals, snatched their valuables and left many of them homeless.

In 2009, he became the most wanted man for the Odisha police when he launched an armed attack on Narayanpatna police station leading to police firing that resulted in death of two tribals and injury to the inspector of the police station.

With the help of Maoists, he had almost become successful in turning Narayanpatna into a Maoist fortress till Odisha police struck back and took control of the area after three years.

Of the 45 cases pending against him, Linga had been acquitted in 44 cases. The trial in the 2009 Narayanpatna police station attack is still going on.

Linga’s lawyer Prashant Jena said he had first moved for bail petition before the Orissa HC in 2018 and then moved the SC in 2019 after his bail petition was rejected.

The apex court in March this year had asked the trial court in Koraput to finish trial in the Narayanpatna case within six weeks or give him bail if the same could not be done in time.

When the trial could not be finished within six weeks, Linga moved the trial court in Koraput seeking bail in April. However, the same was rejected amid Covid-19 lockdown.

The case finally went up to SC which on October 28 ordered Orissa High Court to conduct the bail hearing as it concerned the liberty of a person

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