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Mander’s aide held for Maoist ‘links,’ wife told to quit her govt house

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2010

New Delhi Can the wife of an alleged Maoist be “punished” for the activities of her husband? The Ministry of Communications & IT is seized with the question with human rights activists protesting against the eviction notice issued by the Department of Posts to Anju Shakeel, wife of Abdul Shakeel Basha, an alleged Maoist arrested last June. Reportedly on the wanted list of the Gujarat Police, Basha was picked up from his house which happens to be a government house allotted to his wife five years ago.

Basha, who is in a Surat jail now, worked for the homeless and ran an NGO called Haq in Delhi. He worked closely in Gujarat with Harsh Mander, member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC).

His wife is said to have petitioned Minister of State Sachin Pilot against his department’s eviction order last week. When contacted, Pilot declined to comment.

But a Ministry official said: “Accommodation was given to her on temporary basis and it was extended every six months. This time, the extension was not given. The fact is no unlawful activities can be allowed from government accommodation and Basha had been arrested from her official residence.”

In the eviction notice dated August 10, Anju Shakeel was given 10 days to vacate her house. She declined to answer any questions, but sources said she has asked Ministry officials for a reprieve citing her “lower backbone disorder” and “acute diabetes.” Her mother lives with her.

“Whether her husband is involved (in Naxal activities) or not has to be decided first. It has to be proved. Which law allows you to evict someone because her husband is alleged to be involved in something? It is draconian and unjust,” Mander told The Sunday Express. He said that Basha had worked with him from 2004 to 2007. He was involved with Nyaygraha, a campaign for legal justice for victims of 2002 Godhra riots launched by Mander’s NGO Aman Biradari.

“There was a time when Muslim youths were picked up under POTA in Gujarat. There was not a single Hindu (arrested under POTA) as if terrorism was something that happened to one community only. Now we find that a whole set of people engaged in social assertion are paying the price. It raises disturbing questions. Dissenting social activists have been picked up. It is hard to believe that it is a coincidence,” said Harsh Mander. He said he is helping Basha with his legal defence. Basha had been arrested under IPC sections dealing with waging of war against the state and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Police claimed he was involved in a conspiracy to begin Maoist operations in Gujarat and parts of north Maharashtra. IE

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