In what could spell relief for many activists and others being branded as “Maoists” in Kerala, the court has observed that being a Maoist is not a crime and security forces cannot imprison someone on the basis that they were Maoists. The High Court has said that the state should arrest only those who have committed a crime, believing in an ideology like Maoism is not a crime in itself.
The court’s observations came while it was hearing a case of alleged torture by the “Thurderbolt” commandos of the Kerala police. The petition had been submitted by a person named Shyam Balakrishnan, son of a former High Court judge who was detained by the anti-Naxal force alleging Maoist link. The High Court has also said that the state, in many cases, moved in to nab Maoists like a hunter catching its prey, which is why the state itself calls it “Maoist hunt”.
In addition to this, Justice Muhammed Mushtaq said that lately, circumstances in the state were such that anyone could be arrested and imprisoned for being a Maoist. The Judge has asked Kerala government to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Shyam Balakrishnan.
Lately, the Kerala government and police have come under severe criticism for arresting activists, journalists and others with alleged Maoist links.