City-based 'Maoist' couple surrenders outside state legislature in Mumbai
An artiste-activist couple from a city-based theatre group, accused of having Maoist links, surrendered to police outside the high-security precincts of state legislature yesterday.
The duo, Sachin Mali and Sheetal Sathe of the Kabir Kala Manch, have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for having Maoist links.
“We wish to come clean of all allegations slapped against us and mentioning us as providing aid to and assisting the Naxal (Maoist) movement. We wish to co-operate with the agencies and wish to have our names cleared,” Mali said.
The couple, which had gone underground and remained wanted for several years, contended that their surrender is like a “revolution” and that they expected restraint from torture or being implicated in false cases by the authorities.
However, it was not clear why they chose to surrender in a public place in Mumbai that is under a high security cover in view of the ongoing legislative session. After their surrender, the Mumbai police placed them under formal arrest and handed them over to the Anti-Terrorist Squad for interrogation and further investigation.
“A formal arrest has been registered with the Marine Drive police station and later they were handed over to the ATS for further investigation. The case is now being probed by the ATS, as it has the primary charge of investigating Maoist activities in the state,” said a senior police official. Asked for his reaction, Home Minister RR Patil said his department was investigating the matter and he would not be able to comment on it till detailed information is received.