Kerala Government Shielding Madni faces widespread criticism

published on August 16, 2010

No end yet to Madani arrest drama

VR Jayaraj | Kollam
– Daily Pioneer

The CPI(M)-led LDF Government in Kerala and its police on Monday faced widespread criticism that they were unwilling to clear the arrest of Islamist leader Abdul Nasser Madani, 31st accused in the Bangalore bombings case, even after three full days of dramatic preparations by the police at Anvarssery, his operational headquarters in Kollam

However, a source said towards late Monday evening that Madani was most likely to surrender before the Magistrate Court at Karunagappally, Kollam on Tuesday but the leadership of Madani’s PDP said that it was up to the party to decide on the surrender.

The source, however, refused to reveal the time of surrender. He indicated that Madani could be presenting some medical documents suggesting serious ill health in the court so that he could avoid being taken to Bangalore or could get favourable facilities in custody there.

The entire State was surprised to witness the reluctance of the Kerala Government – allegedly due to political considerations – to clear Madani’s arrest though there were no perceptible factors that could prevent it: Anvarssery was peaceful, the hundreds of policemen around it were fully prepared and Madani had already agreed to surrender. Still he was not arrested.

If Madani did not surrender or could not be arrested before Tuesday dawn and not taken to Bangalore before noon, the Karnataka Government would find itself in a difficult spot. The Karnataka Police had to produce him at the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Bangalore on Tuesday, the deadline set for the execution of the non-bailable warrant issued against him.

Karnataka Home Minister VS Acharya complained that Kerala was not cooperating in the Madani affair despite its repeated promises. Acharya told the Kerala media that Madani had promised to surrender but this also was not happening. He said that “other options” would have to be considered if the situation remained unchanged.

Rejecting allegations that the LDF Government was deliberately delaying the arrest, Acharya’s Kerala counterpart Kodiyeri Balakrishnan of the CPI(M) said it was up to the Karnataka Police to decide what to do in the context of Madani’s promise to surrender in court.

The Karnataka Police would have to furnish a credible explanation in the court on Tuesday if they were not producing Madani. If they cited the alleged non-cooperation of Kerala as the reason, it would become a huge embarrassment for the State and the LDF Government before the Judiciary and the people. It could also lead to discomforts in inter-state relations.

Bangalore City Joint Police Commissioner Alok Kumar, who reached Kollam with his colleague DCP Omkarayya, to arrest Madani, informed the Kerala authorities that they had to execute the warrant on Monday itself at any cost.

In the meantime, the reluctance of the police to arrest Madani drew sharp criticisms from across Kerala. State BJP president V Muraleedharan alleged that the police were playing an absurd drama in which the law of the land was being made to bow before Madani.

All this while, dozens of leaders of Madani’s PDP were allowed by the hundreds of policemen at Anvarssery to hold discussions with him. By 3.00 pm Monday, a six-member doctor’s team examined him amidst rumours that the police waiting outside the Anvarssery campus to arrest him as he came out on way to the hospital.

However, cardiologist Gopalakrishna Bhatt, who headed the medical team, reported later that Madani did not have serious health complications that necessitated immediate hospitalization.

The first team of Karnataka Police had reached Kollam to execute the warrant against Madani on August 10. The drama of preparations for arrest by the police at Anvarssery began on August 14 with the imposition of prohibitory orders, deployment of hundreds of policemen in riot gear, bursting of stun grenades and tear-gas shells, expulsion of people from the campus, etc.

Meanwhile, Madani’s lawyers on Monday submitted an additional application in the Supreme Court seeking immediate consideration of the anticipatory bail plea they submitted on Saturday. The apex court was expected to consider the plea on Tuesday.

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