Kozhikode: A case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act - UAPA - has been slapped against two students for allegedly distributing pro-Maoists pamphlets. They were arrested early on Saturday and the police action has been slammed by political parties, including the party and CPI of the ruling Left front.
Some of the pamphlets also reportedly criticised the recent police action gunning down four suspected Maoists at Attapadi.
The arrested duo are Taha Fazal and Alan Shuhaib, the former a Journalism student and the latter a Law student. The students are reportedly members of a CPM branch committee.
The duo was picked up last (Friday) evening from Pantheerankavu locality and pamphlets were seized from them, the police said. Their arrests were recorded on Saturday.
A relative of Fazal, however, said the youth had no connection with any Maoist organisation.
IGP North Zone Ashok Yadav, who visited Pantheerankavu from where the arrests were made and the police station where the case was registered, told reporters that the probe was at a very initial stage.
"As of now we have proof to connect them (accused) with the case", he said adding the UAPA will stand and cannot be withdrawn.
As criticism mounted against police for arresting the two youth under UAPA, DGP Loknath Behera had directed Yadav to visit Pantheerankavu and the police station concerned for further investigation.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also sought explanation from the DGP on the circumstances that led the police to charge the UAPA against two youth.
On Saturday, the relatives of the two accused met the chief minister at Kozhikode.
Pinarayi Vijayan assured the family members of the two youths who met him here that he would look into their grievance.
The two, who were produced before a magistrate and remanded, told reporters that they had done no wrong and a false case was being charged against them.
Opposition, CPI slam Govt
Meanwhile, the CPM led LDF government was at the receiving end from the ruling and opposition leaders following the police decision to charge the accused with UAPA.
Leader of Opposition in the assembly, Ramesh Chennithala lashed out at the government for arresting the two under UAPA and termed it as a "barbaric" action of the left government.
In Attapadi four people were gunned down by police and the chief minister had not expressed any regret so far, he said, while adding putting behind bars those sympathising with Maoist ideology was "wrong".
Flaying the police action, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said arresting the two accused under UAPA was "undemocratic" and does not augur well for the government.
CPI assistant secretary, K Prakash Babu said the UAPA is a "black law", which is being "misused" by police.
Senior CPM leader M A Baby said the police should re-examine their decision to arrest the two youth under UAPA.
"The CPMand and the government has no doubt about the fact that UAPA is a black law. However, some police officers are yet to be convinced about it. The people of the state are confident that the government will take a clear stand on the matter," Baby said in a Facebook Post.
Kozhikode district CPM secretary, P Mohanan also came down on the police action in arresting the two youths under the UAPA.
However, the CPM leader said the party will expel the duo if they have any links with Maoists.
(With PTI inputs)