COIMBATORE: Following the arrest of the five Maoists last week, Coimbatore police have stepped up security in all police stations and border checkpost across the district.
District Superintendent of Police, M Sudhakar, said that security has been strengthened especially in areas bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He claimed that the district police had been in a state of preparedness since the month of February.
The Naxal Special Division (NSD), comprising two units in Coimbatore and the Nilgiris, which were formed months prior to the arrests of the radicals, have also intensified combing operations in forests and adjoining areas. Sources said that the police are working with various departments in order to discuss the grievances of people in tribal hamlets on the outskirts of the city. They said that through the discussion, they hope to address their grievances and at the same time, deny any room for the growth of left-wing radicalism in the district.
Apart from tightening security, the city police have also stepped up the strength in police stations across the district.
A top officer from the Coimbatore city police, said "double sentries" have been posted across all stations. Police are also sensitising personnel to keep their arms and ammunition safe at all times. CCTV cameras, which had recently been installed after a High Court direction, will also come in handy in order to monitor their movement in and out of the police stations.
Q Branch Can’t Seek Further Custody: HC
The Madras High Court has ruled that the Q Branch police, Coimbatore unit, cannot seek further custody of the five left-wing radicals, once their interrogation period ends on May 14.
The five Maoists - Roopesh, his wife Shyna, Anup, Kannan and Eswaran - were arrested from Karumathampatty on May 4. Two days later, a sessions court granted the Q Branch police to take them under custody for 10 days for interrogation.
Meanwhile, K Kesavan, the Joint Secretary of the Center for Protection of Civil Liberties and one of the lawyers representing the five Maoists, had appealed to the Madras High Court challenging the custody granted to the police. The petition came up before Justice M M Sundresh.
The lawyers argued that the vacation bench of the district sessions court had granted custody of the five Maoists without looking into the merits of the case made out by the police.
Kesavan said that Justice Sundresh ruled that “It is not open to them (the Q branch police) to file any more applications seeking further custody (of the Maoists).”
Invoking the landmark ruling made by a Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra, that mere membership of a banned organisation does not equate to criminality, unless the suspect in question resorts or incites people to violence, Kesavan said that the police had simply foisted a case against his clients.
“They were having tea at a bakery in Karumathampatty. That does not in any way signify criminality,” he told Express.