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UP: ‘Naxal’ couple were running magazine for four years

Posted by Admin on February 9, 2010

Retired labour commissioner M P Srivastava, father of Seema Azad, reads Dastak. Express Photo

Retired labour commissioner M P Srivastava, father of Seema Azad, reads Dastak. Express Photo

Booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged Naxal activities, 35-year-old Seema Azad and her husband Vishwavijay Azad have been publishing Dastak Nai Samay Ki, a monthly Hindi magazine for the last four years.

The magazine, duly registered with Registrar of Newspaper for India, focusses on public issues pertaining to politics and social causes.

And while the police maintain that there is no case against the magazine, the arrest of Seema and her husband has come as a shock to friends and relatives.

“There was no need to publish a monthly magazine for almost four years for sustenance, if Seema was associated with Naxal activities,” said Neelam Shankar, a writer associated with Dastak Nai Samay Ki. “Seema focussed on national and international issues, social causes and policies of the government. She used to cycle several miles to distribute the magazine and it was in last October that her father-in-law bought her a moped for the work.”

Seema and Vishwavijay decided to publish the magazine as they thought it was a noble profession and would help them financially, said Seema’s father M P Srivastava.

At the Allahabad University, from where Seema completed her Masters in psychology in 2000, a professor of the department, Deepak Punetha, said: “Seema must have chosen what she wanted to do.

Hardly any student who completes his MA from this department remains unemployed.”

Anshu Malviya, a writer who knew Seema since her days in student politics, said: “Four years ago when she came to me to discuss the name of her magazine, she told me that she wanted to carve out a niche as a writer in society.”

Through her magazine, Seema often condemned the state government on policy matters. In the October 2009 edition, the magazine raised the issue of fake encounters in Uttarakhand, Manipur, Operation Lalgarh and criticised the working of the National Human Rights Commission.

The magazine has nearly 1,000 annual subscribers and goes to parts of UP, Bihar, J&K, Uttarachal and Madhya Pradesh.

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