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Prakash Karat says student activists 'wrongly' booked under

Press Trust of India  |  Kochi 

Dubbing the UAPA as a draconian law, senior CPI-M leader Prakash Karat on Thursday claimed two Left student activists, arrested for alleged Maoist links in Kerala, have been 'wrongly' booked under it and urged the party-led LDF government to intervene and "undo this mistake".

The state police have "wrongly utilised" the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against Allan Shuhaib and Taha Fazal, arrested on Saturday in Kozhikode, and this was 'unjustified', he told reporters here.

"Our party is against the use of the UAPA in this case involving the two students. The UAPA is a draconian law which we have always opposed.... I think the police have wrongly utilised this act (against the students). And I am sure that the government will step in to do the needful to undo this mistake," Karat, a CPIM politburo member, told reporters here.

The two student activists were arrested for allegedly distributing pro-Maoist pamphlets.

"The use of UAPA in this case is unjustified. Whether you find pamphlets or materials, that cannot be the basis for invoking UAPA," Karat, a former general secretary of the CPI (M), claimed.

"I am sure that the government will find some legal ways to see that this cases do not proceed under the UAPA. I think the government will have to do that," Karat said.

His statement comes amid mounting pressure on the government from the CPI, a key partner of the CPI(M)-led LDF, that the UAPA charges against the students be withdrawn.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had informed the state assembly that pamphlets and pro-Maoist books were seized from the homes of the two students and a case registered under various sections of UAPA.

While a mobile phone was seized from Allan's house, Taha raised pro-Maoist slogan when he was taken to his house for evidence gathering. Besides, books, laptop and a memory card were seized, he had said.

However, the chief minister had added that the government would not allow the 'misuse' of UAPA and would look into the issue seriously.

A court in Kozhikode on Wednesday had dismissed the bail applications of the two student activists.

Thaha Fazal and Allan Shuhaib, who are students of Journalism and Law, respectively, and CPI(M)'s branch committee members, were arrested on November 2, triggering widespread criticism in the Left-ruled state.

They were held days after the Kerala Thunderbolts, an elite command force of the state Police, gunned down four Maoists including a woman in an 'encounter' in the forest areas of Attapady Hills in Palakkad district.

The two arrested students have been remanded in judicial custody till November 15.

The brother and aunt of Taha Fazal have alleged that police have presented "fabricated evidence" and said they have faith in the judiciary.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 18:35 IST