Akshaya Mukul,TNN | Feb 19, 2014, 04.51 AM IST

Dosco boys push for Kobad Ghandy's release
Kobad Ghandy, Maoist ideologue, has been in Tihar Jail for four years. (TOI file photo by Piyal Bhattacharjee)
NEW DELHI: Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy, battling heart condition and in jail for four years without a single conviction, has not been shunned by the world as many would believe. Ghandy has found support from the band of boys he grew up with in the elite Doon School.Ghandy, belonging to the class of 1963, finds more than a mention in the January issue of Rose Bowl, newsletter of the Doon School Old Boys’ Society. His classmate Gautam Vohra, writing on the class of 1963 that included Appan Menon, Sanjay Gandhi and Tejeshwar Singh, says when the batchmates met in Dehradun “Kobad issue came to the fore”.

“A few felt that as an avowed Naxalite advocating violence against the state, he would have to pay the price for his conviction,” he writes. But the majority view, Vohra says, was that “since the State had not been able to sustain a single charge against him during the last four years, Kobad should be releases, especially since his health is failing; under considerations of age he is entitled to special dispensation”.

Vohra has been on Ghandy’s side regularly. Doon School friends got together and paid for Ghandy’s eye operation and gave him books and other reading material. Vohra says he and Ghandy keep in regular touch. “I have been campaigning for his release. It has been four years and nothing has been proved against him. Kobad admits he is a Maoist. But even the Supreme Court has said being a member of a banned outfit does not mean you will be put him behind bars,” Vohra told TOI.

The only way, Vohra says, Kobad can be convicted is if his involvement is proved in any violence. “But so far nothing has been found. I have canvassed for his release before everyone — from Kapil Sibal to Mani Shankar Aiyar and many human rights organizations. I am told under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, if he is released many other Maoists would have to be let free. Kobad is in a high risk ward in Tihar where there is restriction to the number of letters he can write and books he can read. Mind is everything for him,” he says


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