Thursday, August 7, 2014

in all the world - Activists launch initiative for release of Swiss youth


THRISSUR: A group of pro-Left intellectuals and human rights activists has launched an initiative for the unconditional release of Jonathan Baud, the Swiss youth arrested by Kerala police for alleged Maoist links. They will organise a convention here on August 6 to press the demand. Efforts are also on to appeal to the international and national academic and political community to press the Kerala government to drop charges against Baud. Activists said there was no legal or political ground for Baud’s detention as he was not engaged in any subversive underground act. “Police have not been able to find any clinching evidence so far to establish his alleged Maoist links,” Gandhian thinker and social activist K Aravindakshan said.
Police, however, have not listed Maoist links in the remand report. Officers also admit that no additional evidence has been extracted to support the allegation during his interrogation in custody. The organisers of the meeting, attended by Baud, said he had just introduced himself after the meeting and shared his sympathies. Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners vice-president M N Ravunni, who presided over the meeting, said the government was according VIP treatment to Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen while using repressive laws to intimidate Baud. Poet and former Sahithya academy secretary K Satchidanandan said the arrest was violation of human rights.
“There is no law in the country that proscribes a person who arrived in the country on tourist visa from attending a meeting. He was not a speaker there; he is well known in the French academic circles and has made important contribution to the intellectual culture.He respects Communist views, but is in no way engaged in any underground subversive act,” he said over phone from New Delhi. However, historian M G S Narayanan said it was difficult to believe that a Swiss national would attend a meeting of the Left and Maoist sympathizers in Kerala without some local links. “I’m ready to wait, let’s see whether the police are able to collect some evidence,” he said. Swiss mission officials in India have been collecting details on Baud’s arrest but had not officially demanded his release so far.

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