In December 2007, Uttarakhand police arrested activist Prashant Rahi, claiming that he was a ‘maoist’. After fourteen years of failing to prove this claim, the court acquitted Rahi and three others.
New Delhi: In 2007, fourteen years after the Uttarakhand police accused him of being a Maoist, social activist Prashant Rahi and three others were acquitted.
According to a Rediff report, Rahi was arrested in December 2007 and faced serious charges of sedition and under the UAPA.
Last week, Udham Singh Nagar Sessions Judge Prem Singh Khimal gave this verdict.
According to Rediff, Rahi’s arrest was presented by the Uttarakhand Police as “a major blow against Naxalism”, however the police could not produce any evidence in court, so the case could not be proved.
The prosecution produced three independent witnesses, one of whom turned hostile and the cross-examination of the other two showed “grave discrepancies and contradictions”.
According to the Rediff news, even the policemen contradicted each other in their statements, with it also emerged that some procedural requirements were also not met.
Rahi’s daughter Shikha told Rediff that she was very happy with the decision. He also told that his father was on a stretcher as he is a sciatica patient and was not taken to the hospital.
Despite being acquitted in the Uttarakhand case, Rahi will remain in jail in Maharashtra, where he was convicted of being a Maoist in a separate case registered in Gadchiroli.
In 2011, Rahi was released on bail, but in 2013, the Maharashtra Police again arrested him on charges of being a Maoist.
In 2017, Rahi and a Delhi University college professor GN Saibaba and others were convicted in the case. Final appeal against this decision is pending.
Where the Uttarakhand Police claimed that Rahi was arrested from the jungles of Udham Singh Nagar, where she had specifically gone to ‘catch the Maoists’ who set up a camp. He claimed that the four alleged Maoists fled and only Rahi could be nabbed.
Rahi, however, says that he was arrested near Dehradun on December 17, 2007, by policemen in plain clothes, and his arrest was shown five days later. Rahi had also accused him of brutally torturing her during this period.
Rahi had leveled similar allegations against the Maharashtra Police when he was arrested in 2013. While the police claimed that he was arrested in Maharashtra’s Gondia district, Rahi said he was taken from Raipur in Chhattisgarh to Gondia.
Speaking to The Times of India after his second arrest, Rahi’s wife Chandrakala had said that she expected the Uttarakhand case against Prashant to end soon but the arrest appeared to be a ploy to prevent him from being freed.
He also said that Rahi is being targeted for the work he has done for political prisoners.
It is noteworthy that one of the lawyers representing Rahi in the Maharashtra case was Surendra Gadling, who has been arrested in 2018 along with several activists, lawyers and artists in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist affair.
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Categories: India, Special, Society