Twenty-seven alleged Naxalites detained under POTA in Tamil Nadu on Monday appealed to Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to withdraw cases against them and to scrap POTA courts as the anti-terror law had been repealed by Parliament.
Six women detenues, who are out on bail after being arrested nearly two years ago, told reporters in Chennai that POTA cases had been "foisted" on them and 21 men, who were still in jail and facing charges of indulging in Naxalism.
"When the act itself had been repealed, why should they face the cases?" asked Padma, one of the detenues. "We plan to submit a petition to Karunanidhi to take steps to grant bail to the men.
"We are innocent," Padma claimed adding that on November 11, 2002, the day of their arrest in Uthangarai in Dharmapuri District, the 27 people and two juveniles had gathered for an "awareness programme for women."
Reena, from Madurai, alleged police had forced them to confess that they possessed pipe bombs, locally made guns and gelatine sticks at the time of their arrest though they were not carrying any arms.