September 10, 2020 4:50:48 am
The NIA court in Kochi on Wednesday granted bail to two students, who were arrested for alleged Maoist links in November last year and were facing charges under UAPA. While releasing Allan Shuhaib, 20, and Thwaha Fasal, 24, on bail, special judge Anil K Bhaskar placed stringent conditions.
Allan, a law student, and Thwaha, a journalism student, both cadres of ruling CPI(M), were arrested from Kozhikode by local police and charged under Sections 38 and 39 of UAPA and Section 120B of IPC. The second accused was also charged under Section 13 of UAPA. Later, the case was handed to the NIA. While granting bail, the NIA court said there is no allegation by the prosecution that the accused conspired to do any specific terrorist act.
On evaluating the materials placed on record, the judge said, “It appears to me that even though the prosecution was able to establish the first postulate of section 38 and 39 of UAPA that the accused had associated with and supported the Maoist organisation, it is doubtful whether the prosecution has made out a prima facie case regarding the second postulate that the affiliation and support rendered by the accused to the banned organisation were done with the intent to encourage, further, promote or facilitate the commission of terrorist activities. In other words, the petitioners were able to bring out a rational and reasonable doubt on the question of prima facie case.”
The NIA had produced a scribbling in a diary of the accused as evidence of Maoist links. The court said “a provocative thought ipso facto does not prove preparation for a crime”.
The court also rejected the NIA bid to show the accused persons’ alleged Maoist links by saying that books and video clips seized from them had also been found with Maoists killed in encounter.
The court observed that the petitioners have no criminal antecedents and that the prosecution was not able to point out a single instance wherein the petitioners have resorted to violence.
The court quoted verdicts of other courts that had granted bail to persons charged under UAPA. Referring to a verdict of Bombay High Court, the NIA court said, “A number of persons are influenced and get attracted towards Maoist philosophy… It is impossible to be hold that all such persons are to be treated as members of terrorist organisations…”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.