Kerala activist interrogated, asked to explain having a Karl Marx book
news Sunday, February 08, 2015 - 05:30
Haritha John | The News Minute | February 8, 2015 Numerous activists across Kerala have alleged that they are being targeted by the police for their Left-leaning political views, under the pretext of their suspected role in the recent Maoist attacks. On January 30, police arrested civil rights activists Advocate Thushar Nirmal Sarathy and Jaison Cooper, an employee of the state insurance department, in connection with the Maoist attacks at The National Highways Authority of India office in Kochi. They have been charged under Section 13 (b) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Following these arrests the home department has been severely criticized by various human organizations and activists. Human Rights activist Jolly Chirayath told The News Minute that she has been targeted by the Kerala police in the last few months over her suspected Maoist links. She says that it all started when the organization she represented, Sthree Kootayma, tried to help the children of Roopesh, a suspected Maoist leader. âRoopeshâs kids have been tortured mentally by the police. We donât have any rights to punish the children for their parentâs faults. So we tried to support them, since then special branch officers and crime branch are my regular visitorsâ she told TNM. Police had also raided her house couple of times after the arrest of Sarathy and Cooper because she was a friend of Sarathy. âThey raided my house without a search warrant. They searched my phone, my Facebook account, emails etcâ she says. Since she had a message sent by Sarathy in her phone inviting her for a human rights meeting, police continued to harass her. She added that she suffered mental torture as a result of the questioning by both special branch and crime branch officers. She even had to explain to them why she has a book of Karl Marx in her book shelf. âI had Gita, Quran and Bible in my book shelf but they just noticed Marxist philosophy and I tell them why I have it. They thought that since I have two phones, one I use to contact Maoistsâ she said. They also asked her why she had an internet connection. Frequent visits by police have made her a âcriminalâ in the society that she has been ostracized by her neighbors. âWith this frequent police visits and my active involvement in human rights activism, I am isolated from that society, none of my neighbors talk to me,â she said. However she is not bothered about what society thinks about her. âI fight against fascism, I believe in left ideology but that doesnât mean that I am a Maoist. You canât file UAPA just because you believe in leftism that is what happened to Sarathy,â she said. She has also lashed out at the fake morality and social norms people keep. People had begun to call her âbad womanâ just because she was one of the brains behind the Kiss of Love (KOL) protest against moral policing and the nude protest in Kochi against rape. Earlier in June, four women under Jollyâs leadership had appeared on a busy road covered in just five metres of unstitched cotton to protest against the Baduan rape incident that had attracted media attention. Tweet
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