THRISSUR: Police took into custody three activists of pro-Naxallite group ‘Porattam’ from Thrissur on Tuesday for possessing brochures and posters appealing to boycott of the ensuing Assembly elections in Kerala. The detained activists are Ajithan, Dileep and Sabu. The police said they were taking legal opinions on whether they can be arrested under Representation of the People Act or other legal provisions. They were arrested when they were distributing brochures in the Jai Hind Market area in the city.
The brochures they were carrying contained write-ups against the prevailing democratic structure in the country. Intelligence agencies and police are questioning them. Experts are being consulted whether they can be charged for engaging in anti-national activities. Strong action will be taken if they were found to have acted against the national interest,” K K Biju, CI of Town East station said.
However legal experts said it was illegal to arrest somebody for campaigning for boycott of election. Police cannot arrest them under Representation of the People Act, just because they have campaigned for boycotting election unless they had engaged in any other illegal activities,” said Kaleeswaram Raj, noted advocate and civil liberties activist.
P A Pouran, advocate and state secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), condemned the arrest of three social activists, and said democracy also gives the right to campaign for not to vote, just like appealing for votes. Indian Election Commission has now introduced even NOTA provision in the ballot paper, and it is a shame that people are being arrested for boycott call, Pouran said.
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