Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, on Tuesday, visited the families of Alan Shuhaib and Thaha Fazal, the two students who have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA, and extended his solidarity at their residences in Kozhikode. He also slammed Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for accusing the duo of being Maoists.
The Congress party, which leads the Opposition front in the state, has also given a political message through Ramesh Chennithala’s visit, that they are against UAPA, a draconian law. Hitting out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Chennithala said that the CM should bring out evidence against the two students rather than just claiming that they are Maoists.
Ramesh Chennithala meets parents of Thaha Fasal
"Normally when UAPA cases are registered they are based on clear cut rules, but in this case, it has not been followed,” said Chennithala. “Pinarayi Vijayan has been saying that the youth are Maoists; if so, why is he not coming out with the evidence? And now, the case has been handed over to the NIA (National Investigation Agency). I have assured the families that the Opposition will take this up in the Assembly.”
Speaking to the media after meeting the two families, Chennithala also asked: “Now what was the difference between BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Pinarayi Vijayan.”
The two students, 20-year-old Alan Suhaib and 24-year-old Thaha Fazal, were arrested by Kerala Police on November 1, 2019 for allegedly distributing pro-Maoist posters. They were charged under sections of UAPA. The CPI(M) and the government had been receiving severe criticism from various quarters for imposing UAPA on the students, despite the fact that the party had been the most vocal against the draconian law.
Incidentally, the CPI(M)-led LDF government had first taken a sympathetic stand towards the two students. It soon changed in December as the Chief Minister himself came out sharply against Alan and Thaha, claiming they are Maoists. When the media asked him about UAPA against the two students, he said, “They are not CPI(M) activists, but Maoists and that it had been examined and proved right.”
Days after the CM’s statement, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the case.
Chennithala’s visit comes a day after MK Muneer, a leader of its ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), visited the families.
Meanwhile, the NIA court in Kochi, on Tuesday, granted seven-day custody of the students to the investigation agency. The duo were earlier in judicial custody.