KOCHI: The relatives of activists Thushar Nirmal Sarathy (36) and Jaison Cooper (37), booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for Maoist links, have accused police of highhandedness. Thushar’s wife Uma said she was barred from the district court premises on February 6, on orders from police officers, when the case was taken up. She was also not allowed to give some books to him, on the grounds that he could only read whatever was available at the prison library.
“The search and arrest itself were carried out without a proper warrant,” said Uma, who works in an IT firm. “I had to seek legal aid to remain on the court premises and give books to Thushar. His brother Sooraj was still not allowed to meet him. We are denied our rights and police are terrorizing us. Sooraj was treated like an accused at the circle inspector’s office, where he went to meet Thushar.” Police had arrested Thushar and Cooper, an employee with the state insurance department, on January 30 following the ‘Maoist’ attack on NHAI project office here. Thushar was arrested from Kozhikode after he addressed a news conference, condemning the police hunt, while Cooper was taken into custody from his office here.
The evidence cited against Thushar was that he possessed pro-Maoist literature and Sreekanth Prabhakaran, a student booked under the UAPA in December last, had called him over phone. Against Cooper, police had claimed possession of pro-Maoist literature and posting pro-Maoist messages on social networking sites. “The pamphlet that allegedly promotes Maoism was in fact a notice issued by the Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam, a human rights group for which they worked,” Uma said. Police had claimed that they were not involved in Maoist attacks but were active in ‘front organizations’ of the movement. Cooper’s friend Prasanth Sarangadharan said: “They harassed him even before his arrest. They didn’t bother to inform friends and relatives when they were arrested. Our social networking accounts and calls are constantly monitored.” .