RANCHI: Cultural activist and executive member of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) Uttpal Baski was produced before the chief judicial magistrate Giridih on Sunday following pressure mounting from the outfit and other human right activists.
Denying allegations of unlawful detention, Giridih additional superintendent of police (ASP) Sanjay Kumar said Baski was arrested on Sunday morning and produced before the judge the same evening.
Asked about charges under which Uttpal was booked, Kumar said he was a member of Jharkhand Aven, a banned outfit, and was involved in the propaganda work of Nari Mukti Sangh, another banned outfit of the CPI (Maoists). “He admits being the member of the banned Jharkhand Aven and that is sufficient for his arrest under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),” he said. The ASP, however, unable to cite the exact charges under which Baski was booked.
RDF national president and known Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao intervened in the matter and demanded unconditional release of Baski.
Issuing an appeal to democratic organizations and individuals to raise their voices against the alleged illegal act of the police, Rao said Baski was a singer and a composer. “He is a tribal cultural activist who was elected to the all India executive committee in the first conference of the RDF held on April 22-23 in Hyderabad,” the letter reads.
Rao’s letter mentions that Baski was arrested by Giridih police near Dumri More on May 7 when he was returning from Ranchi after appearing in a court case. “Cultural activists of Jharkhand Aven were waiting for him in a village when he was detained by Dumri police around 3pm on May 7 from a public bus in which he was travelling,” Rao said.
Local human right activist Damodar Turi said one of his associates and co-passengers on the bus informed members of Jharkhand Aven that Baski was forced to get off the bus and taken into custody.
Jharkhand Aven is a revolutionary cultural organization whose general secretary Jeetan Marandi was sentenced to capital punishment by a court in connection with Chilkhari attack in which former chief minister Babulal Marandi’s son Anup Marandi was killed.
The judgment was later reversed by the high court and Marandi was acquitted of all charges related to Chilkhari case.
Earlier, soon after the arrest of Jeetan Marandi, police arrested Baski under UAPA. He was in jail for almost a year and recently came out of prison on bail. He played an active role in campaigns taken up by Jeetan Rihai Manch (Release Jeetan Front) for his acquittal.
The efforts were successful and Jeetan was acquitted by the high court.