UAPA arrests: Kerala court grants NIA 7-day custody of Alan and Thaha

UAPA charges to be reconsidered in detailed probe: Behera
Alan Shuaib (R) and Thaha Fazal (L) in police custody. File photo

Kochi: A court here on Tuesday granted the National Investigation Agency 7-day custody of two students who were arrested by police recently from Kozhikode for allegedly distributing pro-Maoist pamphlets, from January 22.

The NIA had last month taken over the UAPA cases against the students, Thaha Fazal (24) and Alan Suhaib (20), who are CPI(M) activists.

Considering the application moved by the NIA seeking their custody, the NIA court on Tuesday granted seven-day custody of the accused from January 22.

They will be produced before the court on Wednesday before NIA takes them into custody.

The Kerala High Court on November 27 had dismissed the bail plea of the two students who were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The court had admitted the evidence submitted by police to prove the arrested students had Maoist links and denied them bail.

Fazal and Alan, students of journalism and law respectively and the CPI(M)'s branch committee members, were arrested on November 2 from Kozhikode, leading to widespread criticism in the Left-ruled state.

Both CPI(M) and its ally CPI had slammed Kerala's Left Democratic Front (LDF) government over invoking UAPA in the case. As reported earlier, it triggered an uproar against the state government and the Home Department, which is headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself, from various quarters. Even the functionaries of the ruling CPM is reportedly divided on the issue.

The duo were accused in the case registered by the Kerala police against three youths who were found under suspicious circumstances in the Peruman Perummal area of Kozhikode. One person who was also along with them ran away after seeing the approaching police team. As per police version, posters and leaflets of groups having links with Maoist organisations were recovered from the accused persons.

NIA re-registered an FIR under Section 20 of UAPA after taking over the probe on December 18, 2019.

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