RAIPUR: After being in prison for the last 17 months on charges of having links with Maoists, Santosh Yadav, a Bastar-based journalist, was released from Kanker jail in Chhattisgarh on Thursday after the Supreme Court granted bail to him.
The apex court on February 28 had granted Yadav bail on the condition that he had to mark his attendance in the local police station every day and will have to seek prior permission from the police before going out of Bastar region.
After his release, Yadav said journalism is his passion and that he would continue to raise issues pertaining to the plight of tribal people in the strife-torn tribal Bastar region. “For a journalist, working in Bastar is extremely difficult and dangerous. Those involved in the conflict have only one attitude — either you are with us or with the enemy. Caught in the conflict are the innocent tribals, whose voice should reach out to the world,” he said.
Yadav was arrested in October 2015 on charges of having links with the Maoists and the police repeatedly claimed that he had links with the rebels. But, local journalists and activists’ groups termed his arrest as part of the ongoing effort by the Bastar police to suppress the voice of those raising issues of human rights violations in the region.
Initially, Yadav was lodged in Jagdalpur prison where he raised a protest demanding good food and reading material for the jail inmates. Later, he was shifted to a prison at Kanker.
Yadav is facing various charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the provisions of Chhattisgarh Public Security Act.