Indian court overturns conviction of paraplegic professor for Maoist links
New Delhi, Oct 14 (EFE).- An Indian court overturned Friday the life sentence of a paraplegic university professor G.N. Saibaba and four others for alleged links with the Maoist insurgent movement.
A former professor at the University of Delhi, Saibaba, who suffers from 90 percent physical disability, was convicted in 2017 by a court in the western state of Maharashtra, linking him to the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The Bombay High Court ruled the entire trial against him as “null and void” in the absence of a valid sanction under relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
“We are inclined to hold, that every safeguard, however miniscule, legislatively provided to the accused, must be zealously protected,” the court said in its ruling.
Similarly, the High Court also quashed the trials of five others under similar charges.
Saibaba was arrested in 2013 after police linked him to documents, hard drives and USB sticks containing material belonging to the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) in the possession of several of his students.
The Maoist guerrillas, known locally as “Naxalites” as it emerged from a revolt in the village of Naxalbari in West Bengal in 1967, seek to impose a Maoist style agrarian revolution.
The movement remains active even after half a century of operations against it, especially in the so-called “Red Corridor,” an area that runs through the central and eastern India.
According to data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal, India recorded 237 deaths in Maoist-related incidents last year – 58 of civilians, 51 security forces members and 128 guerrillas.
In 2010, the number of fatalities had reached 1,179, including 630 civilians. EFE