Madani arrest drama persists

via VR Jayaraj | Kollam - Daily Pioneer published on August 15, 2010

The CPI(M)-controlled Kerala Police could not create a situation conducive for the arrest of Islamist leader Abdul Nasser Madani, the 31st accused in the 2008 Bangalore bombings case, even after two days of dramatic preparations at Anvarssery, his base in Kollam district. Top police officials continued to assert late on Sunday that Madani would be arrested but they were not sure when.

The Kerala Home Department had reportedly promised the Karnataka authorities that Madani could be arrested by Sunday. A top police official said on Sunday evening that the Karnataka court’s warrant would be executed, but added that it was up to the Karnataka Police to decide whether Madani should be arrested or allowed to surrender.

The high drama that started on Saturday morning with the imposition of prohibitory orders in the area continued through Sunday, with hundreds of policemen remaining alert in riot gear around Anvarssery, while full-fledged meetings of Madani’s PDP continued inside and supporters went on shouting slogans inside the secured gates.

Critics aired the suspicion that the inconclusive continuance of the drama could be part of a plan to delay the arrest till the Karnataka High Court took up his petition seeking cancellation of the chargesheet against him and the Supreme Court to begin considering his bail application. The courts were expected to take up the petitions on Monday.

Meanwhile, Madani looked as defiant as ever. He told newspersons, “We will not allow the police’s unscrupulous methods even if I have to become a martyr.” A team of Karnataka Police has been camping in Kollam since August 10 for the Kerala Police to create a situation conducive for Madani’s arrest. The warrant against him would expire on Tuesday.

Despite repeated warnings from police, hundreds of Madani’s supporters — camping inside Anvarssery and determined to resist any arrest move — refused to leave the facility. Towards Sunday evening, Madani announced to the Press that he would surrender at a nearby court “in a day or two”.

The political drama over the arrest occurred on Sunday morning in Thiruvananthapuram when a group of religious leaders met Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan to know whether the arrest could be delayed till the Supreme Court’s decision on Madani’s anticipatory bail plea. But the Chief Minister told them that there was no other option for Madani but to court arrest.

The second day’s drama intensified by 2 pm, with the police pasting two notices on the compound wall of Anvarssery. A notice asked Madani to subject himself to the arrest as Karnataka Police personnel had come with a court-issued non-bailable warrant against him in the Bangalore blasts case. The second notice stated that the police had information that Madani’s supporters had made lethal weapons available inside the Anvarssery facility with the intention of harming policemen if they went in to arrest him. But
Madani, in his dramatically modulated voice, asked the mediapersons to inspect the campus “inch by inch”.

He said, “I am not ready to surrender to the police. I will surrender before a court because I respect the judiciary.” In his characteristic emotionally-charged voice, he accused the police of blocking the food van, meant for the orphans at Anvarssery.

As he was talking to the media, another drama unfurled when activists informed that his guards from the Kerala Police had escaped from the campus after depositing a bag inside. The Islamist leader was quick to term the bag as a bundle of materials meant to trap him and to create a situation for the closure of Anvarssery.

The escaped guards told the police that they were being held captive by Madani,
on the basis of which a case was registered against him. Top police officials said they had no reason to trust Madani’s statement that the PDP workers would not put up any resistance.

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