93 y/o activist GROW Vasu arrested by Kerala police for seven-year-old protesttext_fields
Kozhikode: The Kozhikode medical college police arrested a 93-year-old human rights activist on Saturday for protesting against the alleged extra-judicial killings of two Maoists seven years ago.
A Vasu, popularly known as, GROW Vasu, was arrested for protesting outside the Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, in 2016, against the alleged encounter killings of Maoists Koppam Devarajan and Ajitha, in Nilambur.
In November 2016, Thunderbolt, the special wing of the Kerala police, carried out an alleged ‘encounter' (act of killing in self-defence) at the Padukka forest range in Nilambur.
Though the then DGP Loknath Behera claimed that the police fired at Koppam Devarajan and Ajitha after they refused to surrender, the activists have disputed the claims.
GROW Vasu who was a part of the Naxalite movements in the 1960s, had demanded a judicial probe into the incident and had alleged that the incident was orchestrated as an encounter by the police.
Vasu had undergone seven years imprisonment in Kannur Central Prison after he was arrested in the Thirunelli incident in 1970, in which Naxal leader Varghese was killed.
According to police, Vasu had a long pending warrant against him. They also said that Vasu refused to plead for bail when he was produced before the Magistrate, following which he was remanded for 14 days in judicial custody.
In the 1980s Vasu took part in the protest for the Gwalior Rayons Organisation of Workers (GROW), demanding to close down the Gwalior Rayons factory at Mavoor. The protestors claimed that the factory was polluting the Chaliyar River. The protest earned him the moniker of GROW Vasu.
Vasu makes a living by selling umbrellas in Kozhikode and had been actively participating in many protests over the years. Recently, however, he stayed away from politics.