Arrests over maoist connection: Rift in Left Front over use of UAPA

Thiruvananthapuram: The war of words between the main constituents of the ruling Left Democratic Front – CPI-M and CPI  – over the use of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against two young men from whom police claims to have seized pro-Maoist materials has intensified further, threatening a serious rift within the coalition.

Curiously, both the men are workers of the CPI-M, but it is the CPI that has come to their aid, while the CPI-M chief minister, who also handles the home portfolio, is in no mood to relent on his steadfast support for the police action.

The Communist parties are nationally opposed to the use of UAPA, which they have been accusing the BJP governments at the Centre and in the states of misusing to suppress dissent.

The latest salvo fired by state CPI secretary Kanan Rajendran that the Kerala government and the Modi government at the Centre cannot be doing the same thing has widened his party’s differences with the chief minister’s stand.

He told newsmen that the so-called evidence cited by the police to implicate the two young men is suspect and cannot be relied upon to suggest that the accused are Moist activists.

Kanan Rajendran said his party did not support the Maoist ideology, but people cannot be hauled up for following any ideology as long as they pose no threat to the society and the rule of law.

Initially, the CPI-M party secretariat had also criticised the action of the police saying that possession of pro-Maoist material alone is not a punishable offence as the Supreme Court has ruled in a similar case.

But to ward off such criticism, the police has been claiming unearthing of more proofs of the involvement of the accused men.

The aggressive police campaign follows widespread condemnation of the death of four Maoist activists in what has been claimed as an encounter, but widely questioned as a stage-managed show by the police. The arrest of the two alleged activists was further to buttress the police charge of heightened Maoist activity in the area.

The district unit of the CPI-M, to which the two men belong, had also initially questioned the veracity of the police claim, but with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan refusing to budge from his support for the police action, the party leaders have softened their stand.

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