The High Court’s refusal to grant bail to Mangalore University journalism student Vittal Malekudiya has not only been a disappointer to the family of Vittal, but also to human rights activists who have been fighting for Vittal’s release. Though the High Court while denying bail has said that Vittal and his father can again appeal to the court of hearing for bail, here it is worth mentioning that Vittal and his father had moved the High Court after the lower court had turned down their bail plea.
The High Court ruling is based on the aspect that anyone arrested is eligible for release if the police fail to charge sheet them within 90 days of the arrest. This has been mentioned in the ruling. But, Vittal and his father were arrested under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and under this Act, it seems the cops have 180 days time to file chargesheet. It appears that the advocate for Vittal has failed to draw the attention of the court towards this aspect. If one goes by the HC ruling, Vittal has to wait for another three months before he can file a bail application to the court of hearing.
Had the police intended not to trouble Vittal and his family, they would have charge sheeted the two within 90 days and would not have opposed the bail plea of the father and son. Or there was even the chance of them releasing the duo after remarking that the allegations against them were baseless and that they were arrested on the basis of false information. (This has happened in several cases). But, without doing any of the above, the cops have curtailed their freedom which is unpardonable.
That the civil society of the district has been deeply hurt by the arrest of Vittal and his father is testified by the innumerous protests held here. Even CPM MP Brinda Karat had taken a delegation to the Chief Minister and had requested for the early release of the father-son duo. It has been weeks since the CM assured to act in a favorable manner. The CM might have secured the Vittal file from the SP and might have even discussed the issue with the latter. But, the civil society has the right to know as to what has construed. The CM owes an explanation to the civil society as to why the police have not yet filed charge sheet if they had evidence against the duo. The case has not only been a matter of public debate in the CM’s home district, but also elsewhere in the state. It has also been raised in the Parliament. This being the case, the CM cannot remain neutral.
The evidence which police had against Vittal will neither increase nor there be any fresh addition. It is not proper for the CM to consider himself relieved after the HC ruling. The government which on the one hand is raising slogans of bringing Maoists on the national mainstream, on the other has labeled some oppressed sections as Maoists and are making their families shed tears. How far is this justifiable? The CM has to put an end to all this. This is the time for the CM to reveal his humane face, if at all he has it.