As of writing, some members of the rights organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties are still being interrogated at their residences.
EARLY in the morning today, the Uttar Pradesh police carried out a series of raids across cities on the residences of certain members of the Public Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) .
The PUCL is one of India’s leading human rights organisations.
Seemingly coordinated raids were carried out in multiple locations in Allahabad and Varanasi. Raids have also been carried out on the residences of families of some members of the PUCL.
In Allahabad, the police raided the residence of organising secretary of the PUCL, Seema Azad.
K.K. Roy, who is a member of the PUCL and a senior advocate at the Allahabad High Court, has confirmed that more than 15 police officers are still interrogating Seema and her husband, Vishwavijay Kamal, at their residence.
The Leaflet has also confirmed that the police raided the residence of Seema’s parents in Allahabad, where her elder brother and sister-in-law also live.
Also in Allahabad, the residence of state president of the PUCL Soni Azad and her husband Ritesh, who is associated with the Allahabad-based student’s organisation Inquilabi Chhatra Morcha, has been raided.
Both Soni and Ritesh have been detained.
In Varanasi, the police raided the office and homes of members of the ‘Bhagat Singh of Naujawan Morcha’.
Roy told The Leaflet: “So far, the police officers have not made any disclosure on why they raided the houses of Seema and other members of PUCL.
“They have also seized documents and other materials from Seema’s house. I cannot confirm any charges against them because the police still have not left Seema’s house.”
As per astatementreleased by the PUCL, Seema and Vishwavijay were arrested by a special task force team on February 6, 2010 from the Allahabad railway station.
The arrests were made for their alleged links with banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist).
As per the detaining agency, objectionable literature was recovered from them. As per the detainees, the literature was a book containing information on Maoist politics.
A sessions court in Allahabad sentenced them to life imprisonment on June 8, 2012.
Many human rights organisationsstaged protests against arrest and conviction, stating that evidence against them was flimsy and inadequate.
Arguing the matter before a division Bench of the Allahabad High Court comprising Dharnidhar Jha and Justice Ashok Pal Singh, the counsel for the couple Ravi Kiran Jain had highlighted that there was no concrete evidence against the duo.
He had also pointed out that the couple had been falsely implicated for exposing illegal mining done by the mafia in connivance with the government.
The sentence of Seema and Vishwavijay was suspended after the high court found that there was no prima facie evidence against them.
Consequently, they were granted bail in August 2012.