Updated: December 24, 2014 3:09:44 am
Two college students, who were arrested on charges of attacking KFC outlet in Palakkad, were remanded in judicial custody on Tuesday. Arrested Sreekanth Prabhakaran, a B Ed student, and Arun Balan, a journalism student, were members of a rural wing of the CPI (Maoist), according to police.
The youths, both aged 21, were booked under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Both of them, hailing from different villages in Kasargode, had been associated with CPI (M)’s student wing SFI in the past.
Police had raided their houses after their arrest in Palakkad and claimed that they have recovered pro-Maoist literature and knife.
However, Sreekanth’s father Prabhakaran said his son had no such links to his knowledge. “What the police had recovered from the house was only a few books Sreekanth had taken from a local library. The knife was one used in the kitchen. I am at a loss to what to do. He had left home saying that he was going to attend a marriage,” said Prabhakaran, a farm worker.
Family sources close to Balan, the arrested journalism student, said he had been active in a cultural organization in the village. “We were totally surprised to hear about his alleged involvement in Maoism. What police got from the raid was only a few books,” said a family source.
The police too have not found any tangible link of these students with the gang allegedly operating in the forest. “They seem to be ideologically attracted to Maoism. The group has a comrade as its leader. He along with eight others came to Palakkad for attack, but the leader kept away from the operation. The arrested youths claim they don’t have any direct contact with their leader. The only coincidence of the attack on the forest offices and the hotel outlet was that the day was the 10th anniversary of CPI (Maoist),” police sources said.
Meanwhile, police hunt for Maoists among writers and social activists had drawn flak from various quarters. On Monday night, police in Thrissur raided the office of Keraleeyam, a Malayalam magazine focusing on tribal issues. Three staff members who were sleeping at the office were nabbed and questioned for several hours. The office was sealed and computers were taken into custody. But as social activists mounted protest, police released the magazine workers.
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