Wednesday, 30 July 2014 | VR Jayaraj | Kochi
A foreigner, identified by the Police as a Swiss national, has been arrested in Kerala after he attended a function organised by a group of Maoist and Naxalite sympathisers in memory of a Maoist who was killed last month during bomb-making. The police from Valapad station in Thrissur district arrested Jonathan Bold, 24, from Thriprayar on Monday night after he attended the meeting there.
Bold had arrived in Kannur in northern Kerala on tourist visa on July 10 along with his woman companion, Valerie Celine, also a foreigner. He had reached Thriprayar from Kannur on Monday morning to attend the function in which around 40 Maoist sympathisers had participated. The Valapad Police arrested him under Section 14(b) of the Foreigners Act for violating visa rules.
Jonathan was not carrying his passport when he was arrested. The Police found a copy of the passport from the hotel room in Kannur where he had been staying since his arrival. Officials said Leftist publicity material had been found from his room and that he had admitted during questioning that he was a sympathiser of extreme Leftist ideology.
However, Bold told the Police that he had no relations with any Maoist organisation and that the purpose of his visit to India was research in history. The Police were not convinced by his claim that he had no Maoist connections and that he had reached Thriprayar after learning about the meeting from newspapers and other people.
The Police were of the feeling that Bold might have Maoist connections because he had travelled all the way from Kannur to Thriprayar to attend the meeting, organised in memory of Sinoj, a Maoist from the coastal region of Thrissur district who was killed while making bombs in the jungles on the border between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka last month.
The Police were questioning Jonathan even on late Tuesday evening. However, his woman companion was released after questioning at Valapad station. She was also questioned at Kannur on Monday night. The Police are currently trying to find out the people who had come into contact during his stay in Kannur.
The Swiss national had participated in the “Gaza Solidarity” meeting organized by the CPI(M) in Kozhikode on July 24 by introducing himself as Mathews from France. On July 25, the CPI(M) organ, Deshabhimani daily, had published an interview of the foreigner in which he claimed that he was an activist of various extremist Leftist groups in France.
He had also allegedly tried to keep the real identity of his woman companion hidden by introducing her as his wife saying that she was a German named Martina. In the interview, he had said that he was quite happy to learn that communists were very active in Kerala and that he had come here to do research on the subject, “Swiss banks and economic history”.
The Kerala Police have come under flak for not being alert enough to inquire about Bold and the real intention of his visit to Kerala even after he had clearly stated in the Deshabhimani interview that he was an activist of several extreme Leftist groups in France. The CPI(M)’s Kozhikode district leadership said that Jonathan was not an invitee to the programme.
Former Naxalite Gro Vasu, who had inaugurated the Sinoj memorial meeting in Thriprayar, confirmed Bold’s participation in the programme saying he had claimed to be a Left activist in his own country. However, the Police think that it is mysterious how a foreigner had attended a meeting of Maoist sympathisers in which only 40 persons had participated.
Jonathan’s visit and the fact that he had been staying in Kannur have thrown up some serious questions as far as the Police are concerned as the forests on Kannur district’s borders are said to be a den of Maoists. The Police are now trying to find out the places the Swiss national had visited since his arrival and whether other foreigners had arrived in Kerala.