KATHMANDU, Feb 5: Though 11 Maoist leaders convicted in absentia by the Patna High Court were acquitted by an Indian court last Friday, 17 middle-rung Maoist cadres still face criminal charges in various Indian courts, according to party leaders who believe some of them might also be serving terms in India.
“We had expected acquittal of all the leaders as charges against them all were of political nature. We urge the Bihar government to withdraw charges against them and ask the UCPN (Maoist) to take initiatives for their acquittal,” said Prakash Yadav, who is a member of the Maoist Mithila State Committee.
Yadav was arrested along with his four comrades on 27 February 2002 from Patna and released on bail from Beur Jail. Police had rearrested him when he presented himself at the court for sedition charge, on the charge of arms smuggling.
Last Friday, Additional District Judge Bashistha Narain Singh had ordered acquittal of 11 Maoist leaders after a hearing on the state government´s petition to withdraw the cases against them, reported the Indian media.
Altogether 17 Maoist leaders were convicted by the Patna High Court, but the party is not yet sure why only 11 leaders were cleared of the charges.
Of the 17 Maoists, 15 were arrested in 2002 February within the span of three days and another two a year later. Yadav and most of the others were released after the Maoist joined mainstream politics.
The Maoist cadres have frequently criticized the party leadership for not taking initiatives for the release of their colleagues.
“We have time and again urged party leaders to take initiatives for the release of party cadres facing charges in India. But we have no idea why only 11 of those arrested were acquitted,” said Indira Karki, who served 15 months in Beur jail of Patna before being released on bail of IRs180,000.
Deelip Sah from Siraha, Raj Narayan Yadav from Sarlahi and his younger brother Roshan who was just 13, and Praksh Yadav from Dhanusa were arrested on 27 February 2002. Raj Narayan, who was released when the party was still underground, was shot dead by Nepal Army personnel. Likewise, another group of five Maoist cadres, including Binod Thapa from Sindhuli, Devnath Yadav from Saptari, Rohit Kumar Mahato from Dhanusha, Amir Tamang from Sindhupalchok and Amar Karki from Solukhumbu were arrested on 24 February 2002 in Patna.
Similarly, Rajendra Karki from Samkhuwasabha and his wife Indira, Gajendra Jayasawal from Bara, Arjun Yadav from Mahottari, Durga Prasad Dhungel from Taplejung and Lal Bahadur Tamang from Kavre were arrested on 25 February 2002.
In 2003, Ram Babu Chaudhari from Mahottari and Devendra Parajuli from Sindhupalchok) were also arrested. All of them faced charges of sedition and arms smuggling and were jailed in prisons in Bihar.
Lokendra Bista and Kul Prasad KC were among the top rung Maoist leaders to be released last Friday.
Bihar government on February 1 had moved the court seeking withdrawal of charges against them. The Indian union home ministry had recently sent a letter to the Bihar government asking it to withdraw cases against Nepal´s Maoists, taking into considering the changed political context in Nepal.
from Republica English Daily Newspaper