Writers protest 'kidnapping' of activist by UP police

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New Delhi, Oct 31 (UNI) Leading writers and human rights activists today condemned the Lucknow police for stealthily taking into custody and booking young human rights activist Vinod Yadav on flimsy charges and sought his immediate release.

They demanded that the Uttar Pradesh government take urgent steps to trace Yadav who had been projected as having disappeared.

Signatories to the joint statement included Samayantar editor Pankaj Bisht, columnist and activist Anil Chamadia, Anjali Sinha of Stree Adhikar Sangathan and Subhash Gatade of the New Socialist Initiative.

Yadav, a resident of Azamgarh in UP, is the president of an NGO 'Kaarwan' and active member of Peoples Union For Human Rights (PUHR) headed by the renowned human rights activist and Magsaysay awardee Sandip Pandey.

Yadav was ''kidnapped'' on October 24 when he went to Lucknow from his home town Azamgarh. He was supposed to return that evening.

When the uproar over his mysterious disappearance grew, police presented him in a Lucknow court after booking him on charges of fraud and forgery under sections 419 and 420 of the IPC.

He was picked up by the police, the statement said, because he had actively opposed the arrest of ''innocents'' by police in Azamgarh recently and went to media ''exposing the police excesses in the name of fighting terrorism''.

The signatories also condemned another recent incident, already reported in a section of the media, when the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) personnel made an abortive attempt to pick up two ''innocents'' from Azamgarh - Azfar Jamal and Rashid - while they were travelling by Kaifiyat Express on the night of October 23.

''Such a modus operandi of the UP government, giving free hand to the police invariably led to gross violations of human rights at every level,'' the statement added.

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