Kerala govt will examine UAPA charges against two CPM workers: CM Pinarayi Vijayan

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Kerala govt will examine UAPA charges against two CPM workers: CM Pinarayi Vijayan
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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (Express file photo)

Amidst protests from the CPI (M), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said the government would examine into invoking of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) charges against the two party workers, who were arrested for their alleged Maoist links.

Vijayan told media 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.

Former judge P S Gopinathan, chairman of the review authority of UAPA cases, said 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 (in January, 2018), around a dozen cases have come up before it seeking recommendation for prosecution. But we have given sanction only for less half of them. The main drawback in the UAPA cases is lack of evidence. The authority would recommend prosecution only if it is convinced about the evidences,’’ he said.

The review authority was constituted by the state government to analyse whether a case requires persecution under UAPA.

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DGP Loknath Behera said steps have been taken for an impartial probe into the incident and the ADGP (law and order) has been directed to take necessary action. Only a preliminary investigation has been done into the incident so far, he added. Police would examine all aspects of the case and collect evidences to see whether the charges under UAPA are tenable. A report would be submitted in the court accordingly, he said.

On Saturday, two CPI (M) workers, both students of professional courses, were arrested on charges of possessing Maoist material and notices protesting against the recent Maoist killings in Kerala forests. Police had claimed that the duo had been associated with Maoist activities but was operating under the garb of CPI (M).

Invoking the anti-terror law against the CPI (M) workers triggered widespread protest from the party as well as the Opposition.

CPI (M) state secretariat, in a statement, condemned the police action disregarding the fact that the home department is under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The statement said CPI (M) is against slapping UAPA charges against the youths and police action was meant to divert public outrage against the government.

CPI (M) central committee member and Left Democratic Front convener A Vijayaraghavan said the arrest of the youths under UAPA sections, was illegal and against the policy of the government. The use of UAPA has infringed upon the civil rights and there should be intervention on the part of the government to avoid the application of the UAPA against the youths, he said.

While CPI (M) and its allies in the LDF took strong exception to police action against the Maoists under the regime of CM Vijayan, BJP supported the move.

BJP state secretary K Surendran said police should not weaken the case against the youths. “Police should not torpedo the cases related to Left extremism under the pressure from CPI (M). Instead of trying to exert pressure on police, CPI (M) should examine why its cadres have moved to extremism. The case should be handed over to the NIA,’’ he said.

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