Bhima Koregaon raids: Some of the arrested activists held meetings abroad, says Maharashtra Police

Some of the activists arrested on suspicion of Maoists links held meetings abroad and were in touch with organisations there, Maharashtra police said.

Press Trust of India August 31, 2018 21:42:23 IST
Bhima Koregaon raids: Some of the arrested activists held meetings abroad, says Maharashtra Police

Mumbai: Some of the Left-wing activists arrested on suspicion of Maoists links held meetings abroad and were in touch with organisations there, Maharashtra police said on Friday.

There is a reference to the meetings in Paris and some other countries in the letters recovered from activists arrested in June and this week, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Param Bir Singh told reporters in Mumbai.

"They were also in touch with (similar) organisations of the other countries and were co-ordinating with them to highlight (their issues)," he said.

Bhima Koregaon raids Some of the arrested activists held meetings abroad says Maharashtra Police

Representational image. Manmohan Singh/101 Reporters

The letters mention "meetings of philosophers" held in France and the US, he said. He did not mention the time frame of any of the meetings held abroad.

A letter written by Maoist functionary Comrade Prakash to activist Anand Teltumbde mentions the need to highlight the issue (Koregoan-Bhima violence) at international level, he said.

"Many like-minded activists and groups joined forces with us to highlight the oppression of Dalits and minorities," a letter by Prakash said.

"The central committee (of Maoists) has agreed to allocate additional funds of Rs 10 lakh to hold international seminars and conferences on Dalit issues," Singh quoted Prakash as writing in the letter.

Prakash also mentioned about sending funds for a human rights convention in Paris, which was scheduled to be attended by Teltumbde.

"The arrested accused were spreading the Maoist agenda among students and youth," Singh said.

"They were brainwashing students of JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) to engage in underground work and insurgency," he said.

The arrested activists were also trying to establish a nationwide front to overthrow the government, he said.

Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid were in the investigation ambit for alleged hate speeches at Elgaar Parishad, he said.

Some of the arrested activists had given Rs 15 lakh for organising the Elgaar Parishad at Pune on 31 December, Singh said. The funds came from the central committee of Maoists, he added.

Pune police had on 28 August raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested five of them — Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, Sudha Bharadwaj in Faridabad and Gautam Navalakha in Delhi.

The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the Elgaar Parishad, which allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima in Pune district the next day.

The Supreme Court has ordered that the five should be kept under house arrest till 6 September.

In June, Pune police had arrested Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai, activist Rona Wilson from Delhi and lawyer Surendra Gadling, professor Shoma Sen and Adivasi rights activist Mahesh Raut from Nagpur.

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