Kerala

UDF walks out of Kerala Assembly over arrest of CPI(M) youth under anti-terror law

Ramesh Chennithala

Ramesh Chennithala  

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In an unusual show of support for the jailed members of the ruling party, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for “inertly allowing the police” to “blight the future” of two promising youth.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition walked out of the Kerala Legislative Assembly on Monday in protest against the “arbitrary” arrest of two young Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers on “trumped-up” charges of Maoist loyalty and under the harsh provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in Kozhikode last week.

In an unusual show of support for the jailed members of the ruling party, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for “inertly allowing the police” to “blight the future” of two promising youth.

Mr Chennithala spoke warmly about the students and their communist legacy. Alan Suhaib, 21, a law student, is the grandson of veteran communist Savithri teacher. His aunt Sajitha Madathil is a famous thespian and communist.

Taha Fasal (20), a journalism student, hailed from a family of CPM workers. He did manual labour to afford tuition fee and succour his ailing parents, Mr. Chennitala pointed out.

The police bureaucracy had from its privileged seclusion cast two young men into a purgatory meant for the hardest of criminals. They had no criminal record and were struggling to come up in life. The CM had played second fiddle to the injustice, Mr. Chennitala alleged.

Alan’s aunt, Sajitha, had written poignantly in a Facebook post that she would advise him not to wear red dhotis, read literature or be politically active in Kerala’s Kafkaesque climate.

The State grieved for the youth. A galaxy of CPM and CPI leaders had slammed the arrests. However, the CM appeared not to share the pain. He seemed alienated from society and his party, he claimed.

Mr Chennithala rejected Mr Vijayan’s assertion that the Government would review the case “seriously”.

Mr Vijayan, cocooned by his advisors, had merely parroted the police version that the “children” had shouted Maoist slogans and carried Maoist literature.

The CM’s statement that he would curb the misuse of UAPA was mere tokenism. The police controlled Mr Vijayan and not vice versa. IG Asok Yadav had overruled the CM and reasserted the youth were “hardened Maoists”. The UAPA empowered the police to designate Alan and Taha as terrorists, and that was worrisome, Mr Chennithala said.

Mr Vijayan pushed back by stating that the Opposition’s portrayal of Maoists as “angels and lambs” smacked of political opportunism. The armed rebels were responsible for hundreds of deaths of police officers, politicians and innocent civilians in North India. Kerala could not afford such an insurgency on its soil.

Speaker P. P. Sreeramakrishnan ruled the CM’s reply was satisfactory and rejected Congress legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan’s motion to suspend the usual business of the House to discuss the UAPA arrests and Maoist killings in Attapadi in Palakkad last week.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:29:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/udf-walks-out-of-kerala-assembly-over-arrest-of-cpim-youth-under-anti-terror-law/article29877623.ece

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