Journalist arrested for alleged Naxal links

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Uttarakhand based freelance journalist and human rights activist, Prashant Rahi was arrested along with Vilas Kirki on 2 September by the Gadhchiroli Police for having alleged Naxal links. Speaking to TEHELKA, DIG Ravindra Kadam said, “Rahi was arrested from Deori in Gondia district of Maharashtra, after we received inputs about Rahi’s plans to enter Abhujmad via Gondia from Hem Mishra during his interrogation.” He also added that some documents were recovered from him but remained mum on their contents.

Hem Mishra was arrested along with two others on 23 August on charges of being a ‘naxal courier’ and remanded to ten days of judicial custody. His custody has been extended by 14 days.

Rahi, 52, has been charged with sections 13, 20 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act  and 120 (B) of the IPC and has been sent to 13 days of PCR.  However, both Rahi’s family and lawyer Jagdish Meshram have denied the allegations of Rahi being a ‘Naxal courier’. “ Rahi was arrested in Raipur but the police are claiming that he was picked up from Deori. The theory about him going to Abhujmad is cooked up,” Meshram said.

Civil rights activists too have said that he was arrested in Raipur. “Showing that he was arrested in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra along with Hem Mishra is a premeditated act to frame them both in a case to make it more ‘sensational’. This will also prejudice the trial of the case on Rahi in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand to be concluded in this month,” said  Rona Wilson, of Committee of Release of Political Prisoners.

“The allegations against my husband are false. He was scheduled to come back to Uttarakhand on 2 September to appear for the hearing of his case in the sessions court. He is a is a political activist and journalist, who has been working for the release of political prisoners across India. He has spent three years in jail in the past and is aware of the trauma,” said Rahi’s wife Chandrakala.

Rahi was also arrested in 2007 on the charges of being the Zonal Commander of CPI (Maoist) and was implicated under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act  and the IPC. After spending three years in jail, Rahi was granted bail in 2011. His case was being heard by the Rudrapur Sessions court and is in its concluding stage. He was also a part of the movement for separate Uttarrakhand and the Tehri Dam movement.

“Calling Mishra and Rahi naxal couriers is just the police’s way of conjuring up a story against them to suppress intellectuals who are fighting for a cause. After languishing in jail for more than 3 years, Rahi had got bail in this case.” added Wilson.

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