Sympathy to ideology doesn’t make them Maoists: HC

Siddharth Bhosale

Fergusson student, Kabir Kala Manch poet and two others arrested from Pune for alleged links with CPI (Maoist) granted bail last week

Sympathy for Maoist philosophy with a likelihood to indulge in various violent activities is not sufficient ground to conclude that the accused are presently active members of the terrorist organisation, the Bombay High Court held while granting bail to four youths held from Pune allegedly due to their Naxal links.

Justice Abhay Thipsay passed the order on January 31 stating that "suspects could be sympathisers of Maoist philosophy but none can be said to be active members of banned CPI (Maoist)".

The suspects include Siddhartha Bhosale of Kondhwa, an economics student at Fergusson College, Deepak Dhengale, a poet-singer of Pune-based cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) and two girls, Mayuri alias Nandini Bhagat of Nagpur and Anuradha Sonule of Chandrapur.

The order stated, "The basic apprehension of the state (ATS) is that in future they (the suspects) were likely to indulge in various violent activities and offences... Certainly such apprehension cannot be said to be without basis. It ought to be treated genuine. However... such possibility by itself would not be sufficient to conclude that the applicants are presently active members of the terrorist organisation."

The order stated that in view of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to citizens, the activities which can be justified with reference to those freedoms and those that go beyond it and attract criminality need to be clearly demarcated. "It does not appear prima facie that any of the applicants have crossed the demarcating line," said the order.

The Maharashtra ATS had arrested the four in April-May 2011 along with three others from Pune and Thane. The three others were Angela Sontakke, alleged to be the secretary of Golden Corridor Committee of CPI (Maoist). Her husband Milind Teltumbde is alleged to a top state CPI (Maoist) operative. Six youths associated with KKM were also booked in the case but are absconding.

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