Postgraduate journalism student Vittala Malekudiya and his father, Linganna Malekudiya, who were arrested on March 3 on charges of having links with Maoists, were released from the Mangalore District Prison on Thursday.

The Judicial Magistrate First Class, Belthangady, granted conditional bail to them on Tuesday. The two were released as the police failed to file the charge sheet within 90 days. The court ordered their release subject to production of surety for Rs. 50,000 along with solvency certificate of the surety.

The arrest of the journalism student was raised in Parliament and Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat had met him in jail here and sought his release. When he successfully fought a legal battle to appear for his annual examination, he was brought in handcuffs, leading to widespread condemnation for violation of his human rights.

As the two came out, Democratic Youth Federation of and CPI (M) activists garlanded them and distributed sweets. Among those who garlanded the two was theatre person Eric Ozario. “I am here to support Vittala, who has been victimised for questioning the oppressive measures of the government,” he said.

A visibly happy Vittala thanked all those who fought against their arrest. The release, Mr. Vittala said, was a victory for the fight against the way tribal people were being displaced from forests. “I thank the organisations, my classmates, my lawyers and all those who stood by me,” he said.

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