Cancel FIR against Grow Vasu for 2016 protest: VD Satheesan writes to Kerala CM
Grow Vasu was arrested in connection with a November 2016 protest that he led outside the hospital mortuary over security forces killing two alleged Maoists
KOCHI: Leader of Opposition in Kerala assembly VD Satheesan on Thursday asked chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to direct the police to withdraw the case filed against 94-year-old rights activist Ayinoor Vasu, popularly known as ‘Grow Vasu’, for a protest against the killing of two alleged Maoists in a police encounter seven years ago.
Vasu was arrested by the Medical College police in Kozhikode district and remanded in custody on July 29 for a November 2016 protest in front of the hospital mortuary where the bodies of two alleged Maoist leaders gunned down by security forces were kept. He, and some others, were then booked on charges of unlawful assembly and assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duty.
This year, following his arrest, Vasu refused to pay a nominal fine or sign a self-bond for bail as a mark of his protest against the administration and has been in jail for over a month.
Satheesan said many be people who disagree with Vasu’s ideology, but the 94-year-old’s fighting spirit has to be acknowledged.
“Vasu-ettan has a public service experience which is more than the age of many of us...I saw a photo of police officers trying to cover his mouth to prevent him from speaking. The police are forcibly pinning his hands down to prevent him from raising slogans. Officers are using their caps to hide his face. Such visuals sadden those who believe in humanity,” said Satheesan in a statement. The word ‘ettan’ means elder brother in Malayalam.
“What crime has he committed? He is not involved in terrorist, anti-national activities or murders,” the Congress leader said, adding that his crime was that he publicly protested against the killing of people in the name of taking action against Maoists.
Satheesan said that the elderly activist was ill-treated by the police at a time when heinous murderers, impersonators and those close to the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist engaged in fraudulent activities were given royal treatment in police custody and jails.
“The state government was earnest in writing off several cases like the assembly ruckus case. What is the issue in withdrawing the case against Vasu?” he asked.