Friday, July 23, 2021

What material do you have against Maoist link accused, SC asks Centre


Legal CorrespondentNEW DELHI 24 JULY 2021 00:58 IST
UPDATED: 24 JULY 2021 00:58 IST

The Kerala youth, Thwaha Fasal, has been booked under the UAPA

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Union of India what “material” it had against Thwaha Fasal, a Kerala youth booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for Maoist links .

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju said that a “lot of literature concerning revolution, violence and secessionist struggle in Jammu and Kashmir” were seized from him.

Fasal had appealed to the apex court after the Kerala High Court reversed the National Investigation Agency Court's decision to grant him bail.

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The High Court, however, had not interfered in the bail granted to Fasal's co-accused, Alan Shuaib, citing mitigating circumstances, medical condition and his young age. Mr. Raju said the NIA was filing an appeal in the apex court against Shuaib’s bail.

The Bench has decided to take up both cases together on July 30.

Senior advocate V. Giri, for Fasal, submitted that his client was a young man of 23 years and a journalism student with no financial backing. “He has no antecedents and has already undergone 530 days of custody,” Mr. Giri said.

He read out the titles of some of the books arraigned as evidence against Fasal, including one on the caste system, Rosa Luxemburg's critique of Lenin, and 'Hello Bastar: The Untold Story of Indian Maoist Movement’ by journalist Rahul Pandita. Mr. Giri informed the court that pamphlets calling for conservation of the Western Ghats was already available in the public domain.

“Apart from these, was there anything else said by the witnesses?” Justice Lalit asked Mr. Raju. The law officer replied that pamphlets and notices of Maoist fronts were found with Fasal. Notes in Fasal's own handwriting and circulars of the internal communications of the Maoists were found. “They showed an acceptance of the path of violence,” he submitted.

Mr. Raju said the third accused in the case, known in the media as the “Pantheerankavu Maoist case”, had fled to the “jungles”.

“Accused number three ran away and has gone into the jungles... The moment they are released, these people will go to the jungles... He [Fasal] was meeting with an absconding Maoist leader,” the Additional Solicitor General submitted.

The High Court had dismissed the defence lawyer’s arguments that the youngsters were interested in understanding and assimilating new ideologies. However, while agreeing that there were documents that were on the face of it innocuous, there were materials that could not be “ignored in a light-hearted manner”, it said

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