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Orissa: Journalist held for ‘Maoist links’ freed on bail

Posted by Admin on December 2, 2009

An Oriya journalist, arrested on September 20 for his alleged links with Maoists, was given bail by the Orissa High Court on Tuesday.

Laxman Choudhury, 40, a stringer of Sambad in Mohana block of Orissa’s Gajapati district, was arrested by the local police on charges of receiving eight Maoist leaflets sent via a bus conductor. He had been booked under Sections 120(B), 121, 121(A) and 124(A) of the IPC and Section 17(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

In his order, Justice C R Das said Choudhury might have got several such leaflets due to the nature of his job. “If he had any nexus with the Maoists, then he would not have opened the envelope before the police. There is no incriminating evidence on record to suggest that he has any nexus with Maoists,” the judge said. The HC ordered that Choudhury be released immediately after he submits a cash surety of Rs 20,000. However, the bus conductor, Pradeep Kumar Patra, who carried the envelope and facing the same charges as Choudhury, is yet to be freed.

Choudhury’s colleagues in Gajapati said Choudhury was a victim of the vendetta campaign of a few corrupt cops. “He paid the price for writing against the misdeeds of the local police,” said his colleague Rupesh Sahoo. Senior journalist Prasanta Patnaik said the court order was heartening. “This is the beginning of a new battle against oppressive authorities,” he said. IE

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