NIA raids eight locations in Uttar Pradesh, targets ‘Naxal’ network
Multiple teams carried out searches simultaneously at all eight locations, which were residential and office premises of the suspects
LUCKNOW The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday conducted searches at eight locations in Prayagraj, Varanasi, Chandauli, Azamgarh and Deoria districts of Uttar Pradesh as part of their ongoing investigation into the revival of a banned political party and alleged Naxal organisation - Communist Party of India (CPI)- Maoist, said officials.
They said the outfit aims to overthrow the Indian government through protracted people’s war.
The raids were conducted in connection with NIA case no. RC - 01/2023/NIA/LKW revival of NRB of CPI (Maoist) case, as per officials in the anti-terror agency. Multiple teams carried out searches simultaneously at all eight locations, which were residential and office premises of the suspects.
The NIA raided the office of Bhagat Singh Students’ Morcha (BSM), the students’ organization operational on Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus and detained two of its members, president of the local unit of organization Akanksha Azad and its joint secretary Siddhi, from 5.30am till 2pm on Tuesday.
Akansha Azad said the central agency seized their phones and took along one mobile phone and two laptops from the BSM office as well as copies of some journals/publications published by the organisation. Azad said she and Siddhi were accused of having links with the Maoists and the NIA summoned them to its office in Lucknow on September 12.
“In Prayagraj, the NIA searched the houses of state president of a human rights organization Seema Azad, her spouse advocate Vishwa Vijay, advocate Soni Azad and social activist Ritesh Vidyarthi, social and political activist Manish Azad,” a person aware about the NIA raids informed, adding, “The NIA also raided the house of advocate Kripa Shankar and his partner Binda who were currently staying in Prayagraj.”
He said the central agency took Soni and Ritesh somewhere, information about which was not available. Seema Azad and Vishwa Vijay were put under house arrest for a few hours and questioned while Ritesh Vidyarthi’s house in Chandauli, where his parents stay, was also raided, added the person.
Speaking to media persons, Ritesh’s mother Usha Devi said the central agency sleuths searched the entire house, but found nothing objectionable. She informed that Ritesh and his younger brother Rohit often wrote and spoke against “anti-people policies of the government.”
Similarly, the NIA carried out a nine-hour search at the residence of Janwadi Kranti Dal national general secretary Ramnath Chauhan in Uma Nagar locality of Deoria. The agency investigated his alleged links with CPI Maoist and Naxal activities.
Chauhan’s son Rajesh Azad was associated in Khiriyabagh-Azamgarh farmers’ movement and the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha. His family members, including his wife, were at home when the NIA team reached his residence around 6am. Locals confirmed that the team seized some papers and a mobile from his house.
Talking over phone, BSM officer-bearers said the raids were conducted in wake of recent attempts at suppression of Bihar-based Kaimur Mukti Morcha’s leadership, which had been at the forefront of the Adivasi struggle in Kaimur plateau against blatant land-grabbing for creating a tiger reserve in the area.
(Inputs from Varanasi, Prayagraj and Gorakhpur)