The case of M. N. Ravunni, General Convenor of Porattam, a mass organisation, who was arrested by the police on September 29, is similar to that of Dr. Binayak Sen, who has been in jail in Chhattisgarh for more than a year now. Both have invited the ire of the police by taking up human rights causes.
Adv. Thushar Nirmal Sarathy, Convenor, Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam, has provided the following account about Ravunni’s arrest:
On 31/8/2008 Agaly police arrested two Porattam activists, Sunil Babu and Vinod, from Goolikadavu following a quarrel with some local people. The police kept them under illegal detention for two days and subjected them to custodial torture. They were produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Mannarkkad on 2/9/2008 in crime no.183/2008 on the charges of sedition and conspiracy to wage war against state.
On 1/9/2008 M.N.Ravunni, addressing a press conference at the Palakkad Press Club, accused police officers of violation of human rights. On 2/9/2008 he filed a complaint before the State Human Rights Commission praying for the intervention in this matter.
Two days earlier. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Agaly, had contacted Ravunni and asked him to be present at Palakkad SP office for recording his statement as instructed by the State Human Rights Commission. Accordingly, he went to the SP office on 29/09/2008 and the police took him into custody. He is now under the custody of Agaly Dy SP and the police arrayed him as an accomplice in crime no.183/2008 under the charge of sedition and conspiracy to wage war against state. The arrest is a counterblast to the complaint raised by him before the Human Rights Commission.
Two weeks ago a Human Right Activists’ Fact Finding Team including Adv. P.A. Pouran, State Secretary, PUCL, Dr. Abdul Salam, State Secretary, NCHRO, and Adv Thushar Nirmal Sarathy, Convenor Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam visited Goolikadavu and nearby places and collected facts relating to the arrest of Sunil Babu and Vinod. The team concluded unanimously that the arrest of Sunil and Vinod was illegal and demanded immediate withdrawal of the false case registered against them. The Hon’ble High Court of Kerala later granted bail to Sunil and Vinod.
Ravunni’s arrest is clearly an act of retaliation, particularly for the role played by him in exposing the human rights violations of Agaly police and also with a larger intention to keep him silent behind bars as he is an ardent critic of the state.
Janakeeya Manushyavakasa Prasthanam strongly condemns the arrest of M. N. Ravunni and appeals to all the democratic forces all over the country to join hands against State terror.
UPDATE: A magistrate court granted Ravunni bail on October 6.