The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday conducted searches at eight locations in five districts of Uttar Pradesh in connection with its ongoing probe into a Naxal case. The raids are going on in Prayagraj, Varanasi, Chandauli, Azamgarh and Deoria districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The raided sites included the residence of Seema Azad, national secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Bhagat Singh Student’s Morcha (BSM) leading to an uproar from activists who deemed it as “criminalising of activism” with the PUCL demanding immediate return of seized items.
“The PUCL is outraged that the house of its National Secretary and UP State President, Seema Azad, advocate, author and editor of Dastak, a monthly non-commercial magazine, was raided today. The PUCL also condemns both the raid, the detention and the twelve-hour intensive interrogation by the NIA of both Seema Azad and her husband Vishwa Vijay, also an advocate. We would like to put on record that Seema Azad is a human rights activist of deep integrity, who has led many PUCL fact finding teams against violations of human rights in several parts of UP State. The PUCL believes that this operation of the NIA is a serious attempt to stifle the voices of an active human rights and democracy defender, which is unacceptable and the PUCL strongly objects to this tyrannical act of the NIA agency,” the organisation said in an statement.
As per officials sources in the anti-terror agency, the raids were conducted early on Tuesday “in connection with NIA Case no. RC- 01/2023/NIA/LKW revival of NRB of CPI (Maoist) case”.
Multiple NIA teams carried out searches simultaneously at all these eight locations which are the residential and office premises of the suspects.
The NIA raids started early morning in different locations of Varanasi, Prayagraj, Chandauli, Azamgarh, and Deoria districts. The office of a students’ organisation relataed to Banaras Hindu University (BHU) was also among the spaces raided. The NIA teams were accompanied by local police officials.
Last month, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad arrested five activists of a banned Naxal outfit, including the head of the women’s brigade, Tara Devi, from Ballia in Eastern U.P. Police and recovered Naxalite literature, electronic devices and weapons, and handwritten messages from them.
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