CPM in a spot as NIA takes up UAPA case against Shuhaib, Fazal

Unease in CPM as NIA to probe into Maoist links of two former members

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM is in a spot as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took up the case involving two youth arrested early last month over alleged Maoist nexus. Unease in the party rank and file ever since for booking them under a draconian law has intensified with the central agency starting probe into Alan Shuhaib and Thaha Fazal, both former members of a CPM local committee.

Even as the CPM state secretariat issued a statement criticising the central government and NIA over the issue, critics point out that only the actions of the Kerala Police and the CPM-led state government led to the NIA involvement.

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran also alleged that the cases against the two Muslim youths who were CPM sympathisers were handed over to the NIA with the knowledge of the chief minister and state police chief Loknath Behera.

"Police chief who had served in the NIA past had used this influence to ensure that the wishes of the chief minister are fulfilled. CPM which had previously criticised the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for being a draconian law was using the same law for silencing two Muslim youths," Mullappally stated.

Chief minister and the government are now trying to wash their hands off by blaming the NIA, the Congress chief added.

The case

Alan Shuhaib and Thaha Fasal, both law students from Thalassery, were reportedly seen distributing brochures with pro-Maoist content at the Pantheerankavu market in Kozhikode in November. Police also claimed that when they reached the spot to arrest the students, they chanted pro-Maoist slogans.

The duo's arrest had come three days after the Thunderbolt team of the Kerala Police gunned down four alleged Maoists in Attappadi, Palakkad. CPM had then faced criticism even from its allies with CPI sate secretary Kanam Rajendran openly coming out against the killing of the Maoists.

Government, party not on same page?

State police had slapped UAPA charges against the two youth and the NIA probe is now based on these charges.

Though CPM state secretariat and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury had questioned the UAPA charges slapped on these youngsters, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who holds the Home portfolio, had justified it. The chief minister had even called the youngsters Maoists.

A CPM district committee member while addressing a meeting in Kozhikode to explain the situations that led to the arrest of the youth had also cited their Maoist links. He had also refuted the allegations that the evidences against the two were created by the police.

Moreover, the advocate general while arguing against granting bail to the two had also stated in the High Court that they had Maoist links.

Government role clear

The CPM is on the back foot with the central agency coming into the picture. It is well known that it is the state government which submits report on cases that can be investigated by the NIA. Normally, it is based on such a report that the central government decides to entrust the NIA with a case.

Critics pointed out that after slapping UAPA charges against two former members of the party, the state government cannot wash off its hands merely by criticising the centre for the NIA investigation into the case.

Family members of Allan who had publicly affirmed their trust in the CPM and the LDF government have also slammed the NIA involvement.

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