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'Naxal sympathisers try to influence court proceedings'

In startling allegations, lawyer Asim Sarode, whose assistant defended two juveniles arrested for alleged Naxalite activity, claims attempts were also made to lure the youth to join the movement

In the backdrop of the recent acquittal of two juvenile suspects in an Arms Act and unlawful activities case, socio-legal activist Asim Sarode — whose assistant Vikas Shinde defended the youth — has alleged that several Naxalite sympathisers were found to be trying to influence court proceedings in such cases.


Justice delivered? Activist and advocate Asim Sarode (right) with the juveniles from West Bengal. They were released from Yerawada jail yesterday. Pic/Mohan Patil

Out of 10 alleged Naxalites arrested by the state ATS in May 2011, two accused were later proven to be juvenile. A court had acquitted the juveniles recently and they were released from the Yerawada jail on Wednesday.

‘No response
“We had filed complaints about the Naxal sympathisers with the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and also written to the court, but no action was taken by the police. A couple of times, police officials questioned these sympathisers on the court premises. However, unlike in cases of poor youth, where the police act quickly, no action was taken against these people.

The sympathisers even approached the juveniles and tried to draw them to the Naxalite movement,” alleged Sarode.
“We also got a call from a man from the US claiming to have legal knowledge. He was abreast of the trial’s status and was directing us to act in a certain way. We had given the number to the police, but no action was taken,” he added.

Lured
When mid-day spoke to one of the freed juveniles, he confirmed that they had been approached by several people. “During the trial, several people came and met us at the Yerawada jail and in the courtrooms and tried to gain our confidence. They used to tell us that some lawyers from Mumbai would fight the case for us, but we did not entertain them,” he said.

‘Falsely implicated’
“We had no connections with the Naxal movement and were falsely implicated by the police. We now plan to go back to our village in West Bengal and engage in farming activities,” added the youth When mid-day tried to contact senior officials from the ATS, they refused to comment on the allegations.

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