Judicial Custody for Maoists
COIMBATORE: The Maoist couple, Roopesh and Shyna, along with three of their comrades in arms, C Kannan, J Anoop and C Veeramani, are to be in judicial custody till July 2. All five were produced before the First Additional District Judge (in-charge of Principal District Judge), R Sakthivel on Wednesday, after being brought to the city from Kerala amid heavy security. On May 3, all of them were arrested by the ‘Q’ Branch Police at Karumathampatty and were under judicial custody till June 3. The Internal Security Intelligence Team (ISIT) of the Kerala police were given 10 days custody of Roopesh and Shyna on May 24. They were accused of harbouring another alleged Maoist, Malla Raja Reddy and his wife, Beecha Jagana, at Kanjirakkattu near Perumbavoor in 2007.
In Coimbatore, Roopesh told the judge that they did not give any testimony to the police. Government Pleader K Arumugam pleaded against taking the five Maoist suspects to other states, as signature samples would have to be collected to compare them with literature and documents seized by the police during the arrests and subsequent investigations. Arumugam said signature samples would be collected after obtaining relevant clearances from the court. The judge posted the next hearing for July 2. The Kerala police took Roopesh and Shyna back to Kochi, where they are to be produced before courts there on June 9 and 10. The others were taken to the Coimbatore Central Prison. While leaving the prison, the Maoists shouted slogans, reiterating their resolve to continue the struggle and oppose the eviction of tribals from the Eastern Ghats. They also opposed the setting up of a national park in Karnataka.
Gadchiroli court rejects Saibaba’s bail plea
Nagpur: The Gadchiroli sessions court on Wednesday rejected bail plea of alleged Naxal sympathizer, Gokalkonda Naga Saibaba, working as professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Additional sessions judge PM Dunedar stated that the Saibaba was not entitled for bail on the grounds of illness and parity, as the court had already decided his contention of medical treatment. “The ground of parity was available to the accused when the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court had decided his bail application,” the judge said. A resident of the Amlapuram in Andhra Pradesh, Saibaba was accused of serving as the intellectual adviser to the organizations controlled by Maoists and also preaching their ideologies in and out of the classroom.
Through his disciples Hemant Mishra and Prashant Rahi, he was allegedly in contact with Maoist Narmada Akka who was gunned down in an encounter with the police in December 2012. Arrested by Gadchiroli police from Delhi on May 9 last year, Saibaba has been lodged at Nagpur Central Jail since then. Saibaba had, through his counsel Surendra Gadling, applied for the bail on the grounds of poor health and parity. Former district government pleader Prashant Sathianathan pleaded the case on prosecution`s behalf as special public prosecutor (SPP). Prior to this, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court had also rejected his bail application on August 25 last year. Saibaba contended that he was suffering from multiple problems like kidney and gall bladder stone and needed proper medical treatment immediately. The jail authorities failed to provide it following which he even went for the hunger strike.
In Chhattisgarh’s Bastar, a front similar to Salwa Judum is taking shape
A decade after Mahendra Karma launched Salma Judum, the slain Congress leader’s son Chhavindra is trying to start another movement against Maoists in Chhattisgarh, looking for police and government support and raising fears of a rerun of the violence. Ashutosh Bhardwaj reports from Bastar The coincidence is stark. Exactly a decade ago, on June 4, 2005, the Chhattisgarh government signed an MoU with the Tatas for a mega steel plant in Bastar, with Maoists being the only hurdle.
The following day, Salwa Judum was launched to evict Maoists from the region, a move that went on to define the last decade of the insurgency. Last month in Dantewada, in PM Narendra Modi’s presence, the Raman Singh government signed MoUs for an ultra mega steel plant and a rail line in Bastar. Meanwhile, a front similar to Salwa Judum has been taking shape. The earlier movement was led by the late Mahendra Karma; the new one, called Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, is headed by his son Chhavindra.
Ghandy on fast in Tihar against ‘harassment’
In his six years of detention, Kobad Ghandy, an undertrial prisoner in the Tihar jail, accused of being affiliated with the Communist Party of India (Maoist), wrote 12 letters to the jail authorities, pleading with them to stop treating him as a criminal and provide him decent conditions. But Ghandy, 68, was tossed between cells — from jail no. 3 to 1 and 2 and back to 3. A few weeks ago, he was moved to jail no. 8. Tired of what he called “harassment”, he went on an indefinite fast on May 30. His lawyers filed a petition in a court here, which will hear it on Friday. Nursing a series of ailments such as hypertension, arthritis, spondylitis, prostrate problems, irritable bowel syndrome and kidney and heart disease, Kobad Ghandy, an undertrial prisoner in the Tihar jail, says his health does not allow him to pack his bags and move between different cells as the authorities have been making him do.
In a handwritten press statement, Ghandy described this treatment as “a method of harassment”, which he thinks is aimed at destroying his health. Two weeks ago, Ghandy told Rona Wilson, an activist with the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, who often visits him in Tihar, that poor living conditions and lack of medical attention were slowly pushing him to death. “He is a political prisoner,” Mr. Wilson said. “It’s unfortunate that the prison officers have been mistreating him for so long.” In September 2009, Ghandy was arrested while he was being treated for a kidney ailment in south Delhi. He is accused of being a Maoist ideologue. “But the state is unable to prove any charge against him,” Mr. Wilson said.
“Being a follower of a political thought doesn’t mean you are inflicting violence on the state.” A senior official of the Tihar jail told The Hindu that Ghandy came in as a “high-risk prisoner and he continues to be a high-risk prisoner.” The officer ruled out the possibility of moving Ghandy to a better prison facility. “He has been a model inmate since being lodged in Tihar, but prison rules have to be followed,” the officer said. “These state that he must be treated as per guidelines pertaining to the treatment of high-risk prisoners which are being followed as closely as they are in relation to other inmates categorised as high-risk prisoners.” A source close to Ghandy said his trial had been a protracted one because investigating officials “were used to skipping court dates citing one reason or the other”.
Meanwhile, the source said, his legal representatives had moved an application for shifting him to the senior citizens’ ward which had been listed for hearing at a court on Friday. Tihar authorities denied receiving any summons. “We will take a call on how to respond in the matter when we receive directions to do so,” an official said.
Arrest in Jamui.