The Kerala police on Friday night arrested two CPI(M) workers for allegedly distributing pro-Maoist brochures in Kozhikode. The two law students have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act by the Pantheerankavu police station in Kozhikode district.
Alan Shuhaib and Thaha Fasal, both law students from Thalassery, were reportedly seen distributing brochures with pro-Maoist content at the Pantheerankavu market on Friday. When the police reached the spot to arrest the students, they also allegedly chanted pro-Maoist slogans.
Both students are members of the ruling CPI(M) party in Kerala. While Alan Shuhaib is the local Kozhikode Kallai Thiruvannur branch member of the party, Thaha is the DYFI unit secretary of the Pantheerankavu local branch. Alan, who was also a former area committee member of the SFI (student wing of the CPI(M)), lost his membership after moving to Thalassery to pursue a degree in law.
“We have not yet produced them before the court. They have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The Inspector General of Police North Zone, Ashok Yadav, is in the police station to take stock of the situation and direct further actions in the case,” an officer from the Pantheerankavu police station told TNM.
Condemning the arrests of the two students, leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala stated that using the UAPA against students for allegedly distributing Maoist brochures was a barbaric act. He further said that charges under the Act are not to be applied against those who stand for ideologies, adding that the Left government was violating democratic rights.
The arrest of the two students comes three days after the Thunderbolt team of the Kerala police gunned down four alleged Maoists earlier this week in Attappadi, Palakkad. The incident led to heavy criticism from the CPI and the Congress in Kerala.
On Monday, the Thunderbolt team eliminated three alleged Maoists including a woman in an exchange of fire. According to reliable sources, the person killed on Tuesday was a top Maoist from Tamil Nadu, Mani Vasakam. The team had gone for combing operations in the forest area in Attappadi after reports of Maoist presence in the region.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said in the Kerala Assembly that six Maoists had been gunned down till date since the time Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assumed office in 2016. He told the media later that there was not a single "fake" encounter when he was the state Home Minister and that his government had strictly adhered to the principle of taking alleged Maoists into custody.
Communist Party of India (CPI) State Secretary Kanam Rajendran said that the party's position on tackling Maoists continues to be the same. Both when in power or otherwise, the CPI in Kerala has always strongly condemned the shooting down of Maoists by police.