Bhima Koregaon raids updates: 'Why is Rahul Gandhi calling Naxals human rights activists?' asks BJP

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Bhima Koregaon raids updates: 'Why is Rahul Gandhi calling Naxals human rights activists?' asks BJP
  • 19:16 (IST)

    Supreme Court order in case of Romila Thapar and others vs Union of India and others

    The Supreme Court ordered that the five human rights activists, arrested in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, be kept under house arrest till 6 September, when it will hear the matter next.

  • 19:03 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi says only one ideology 'based on Nagpur' respected by BJP

    After his "new India" barb targeting the RSS, Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of respecting only one ideology "based on Nagpur", a veiled reference to the saffron fountainhead, and said the Opposition was united in fighting the "undemocratic" actions.


    In a brief interaction with media during his visit to flood-hit areas in Kerala, the Congress chief dubbed as 'undemocratic' 'certain' actions taken at the national level, apparently referring to the arrests of the activists.

    Rahul said there were two different visions of India — one was centralised and the other decentralised. "One respects only one ideology based on Nagpur and the other respects all the different states, all the different ideas, all the different cultures and all the different people of this country. That fight is on and I assure you that we are fighting that battle," he said.

    PTI

  • 18:26 (IST)

    Are Naxals human rights activists?: BJP

    Lashing out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his tweet calling the arrested as "human rights activists", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "Today, Naxals are being called human rights activists. When legal action is being taken againt them, Rahul Gandhi is raising concerns. Today, Congress has reached a new low. The Congress is standing with the Left-Wing Extremists. Naxals are Naxals when you arrest them, but they are human rights' activists when we arrest them?"

  • 18:10 (IST)

    Anand Teltumbde says govt misusing UAPA 

    Civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde, whose house was raided along with those of several other Left-wing activists over suspected Maoist links, said the government was "misusing" the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to terrorise people into "silence" by targeting select intellectuals and activists. 

    "I, like many other people who have been targeted by people, was not even in the (Elgar Parishad) conference. With what stretch of imagination could I have even been suspected to have connection with these things? The entire episode is based on a letter police produced, the authenticity of which is far from established. 

     
    "Many people have already expressed serious doubt about its veracity. And on this basis, the police are targeting summarily all intellectuals in the country. They are misusing the draconian law like the UAPA to terrorise people into silence by targeting select intellectuals and activists," Teltumbde said. 
     
    PTI

  • 17:43 (IST)

    Maharashtra government opposes maintainability of plea in Supreme Court

    The Maharashtra government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that "strangers" cannot seek relief for activists who have already approached the high court. The plea in the apex court is by historian Romila Thapar and four other human right activists against the arrest of Left-wing activists by Maharashtra Police for suspected links with Maoists.

  • 17:40 (IST)

    Public prosecutor says activists were explained about matter at time of arrest

    Activists have said that the documents carrying grounds of arrest like 'panchnama' were in Marathi, but public prosecutor said the accused were explained in English and their regional language. The public prosecutor said that the entire process. beginning from the time the police entered the residences, was videographed.

    Input by Varsha Torgalkar

  • 17:32 (IST)

    Not right to demoralise police, says Hansraj Ahir

    Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir came in defense of the police, and said that it was not "right" to demoralise them. "Courts are there and if they think they're innocent, then they can seek bail," he said.

  • 17:29 (IST)

    Yashwant Sinha speaks on Tuesday's raids and arrests
     
    Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha alleged "Emergency-like" conditions are prevailing in the country under the present regime and the arrest of five activists on suspicion of Maoist links shows that any voice of dissent is not safe.
     
    "What happened yesterday (Tuesday) is the prime example of assault on freedom of speech and freedom of the press," he told reporters in Bengaluru. 
     
    He said the arrests showed that people who voice dissent were not safe and there were many ways to suppress dissenting voices. "The arrest of the five activists clearly shows the Emergency-like conditions prevailing in India under the present regime at the Centre," he said.
     
    PTI

  • 17:22 (IST)

    Arrested activists were even thinking of targeting higher political functionaries: Pune Police

    "We seized laptops, phones, memory cards and several other documents which clearly show links to a conspiracy," said a Pune Police official at a press conference.

    The official also said that the arrested activists had links with Naxal outfits.

    "The evidence also involves other details with respect to the responsibilities given to these urban Naxals," said the official.

    "Some of the evidence collected reveal that there is a nexus with other unlawful organisations. They were even thinking of targeting higher political functionaries," he said.

  • 17:20 (IST)

    Dissent is the safety valve of democray: SC

    "Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed, then the pressure cooker may burst," one of the Supreme Court judges had said.

  • 17:15 (IST)

    Delhi HC says it is not appropriate to proceed with order after SC orders house arrest

  • 17:14 (IST)

    SC judge said govt was trying to silence those who fought for others: Prashant Bhushan

    "The Supreme Court has issued notice to Maharashtra government and Centre, and it has ordered house arrest for the five activists," said senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

    "During the hearing, one of the judges said that it is unfortunate that such people were arrested. This meant that the government was trying to silence those who were fighting for others' rights," Bhushan said.

    "Now, the government has to reply in a week's time on the arrests and raids," he added.

  • 17:03 (IST)

    SC orders house arrest for all 5 activists

    CNN-News18 reports that the Supreme Court has granted interim relief to the activists and has ordered house arrest for all five activists.

  • 16:58 (IST)

    Supreme Court issues notice to Maharashtra govt, Centre

    According to ANI, the apex court has sought the response by 5 September.

    "Arrest was done randomly, and is illegal and arbitrary," said Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the petitioners.

  • 16:52 (IST)

    Hearing begins in Supreme Court

    Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi advanced his submissions. "One of the arrested persons was a US citizen who gave up her citizenship to work as lawyer in India, she teaches at NLU Delhi," Singhvi said.

    "The larger issue is the chilling effect merely because one does not agree with you (the government)," Bar & Bench quoted Singhvi as saying.

    In response, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta said that people with no connection to the case were before the apex court.

  • 16:46 (IST)

    Country is moving dictatorship: Lalu Prasad on Bhima Koregaon raids, arrests

  • 16:39 (IST)

    Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves were members of CPI Maoist: Prosecutor tells Pune sessions court

    News18 reported that the public prosecutor told the court that Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were all members of the CPI Maoist.

    He said that they were motivating people to join Naxals and wanted to wage war against the government.

    The prosecutor also reportedly produced the letter seized after the arrest of five activists in June which mentioned plans to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

  • 16:28 (IST)

    Father Stan Swamy on the raids and arrests

    "The government should clarify the specific reasons for the arrests...such action against good people should stop," Swamy said.

    Input by Manmohan Singh, 101Reporters

  • 16:16 (IST)

    As demand to suspend Vivek Agnihotri's Twitter account, director responds

  • 16:08 (IST)

    Supreme Court bench including CJI to hear petition against activists' arrest

    Reports have said that the apex court bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud has assembled.

  • 16:03 (IST)

    4,700 people have signed joint statement for release of activists: Shehla Rashid

  • 15:56 (IST)

    Why was the arrest memo of Gautam Navlakha in Marathi? asks Delhi High Court

    According to Bar & Bench, Justice Muralidhar said, "This is a very practical aspect of the matter. If the grounds of arrest are in Marathi, how will the person understand the reasons behind his arrest?"

    The court also questioned the credibility of the witnesses to Navlakha's arrest.

  • 15:52 (IST)

    Were these people held because they are human rights activists? asks Prithviraj Chavan

    "Very clearly, these people have been human rights activists. They belong to various parts of the country," former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told CNN-News18.

    "Precisely what reason has these people been arrested for? Is it because of involvement in Bhima Koregaon? Is it because of their attendance in Elgaar Parishad?" Chavan said.

    "What are the sections under which they have been booked? Or are they being held because they are human rights activists and are sympathetic to the Left Wing views?" he said.

  • 15:43 (IST)

    Vernon Gonsalves' son takes to Facebook to describes ordeal of arrest

  • 15:41 (IST)

    Varvara Rao's family says arrest, search ops illegal; cops did not have arrest warrant 

     N Venugopal a family member of Telegu poet Varavara Rao said that the Pune Police did not produce arrest and search warrants against Rao. At the end of the whole operation, they (Pune police) gave a 'panchnama' but that's most untenable and illegal document," Venugopal told News18

  • 15:37 (IST)

    Delhi HC begins hearing on Gautam Navlakha's plea 

    The Delhi High Court has resumed hearing of Gautam Navlakha's plea. The plea was postponed twice earlier due in the day, after which the bench had said that the court will hear the case today itself even if it goes beyond the usual working hours.

  • 14:38 (IST)

    Delhi HC defers hearing on transit remand of Gautam Navlakha

    The Delhi High Court has deferred the hearing on the transit remand of Gautam Navlakha for a later time today. The hearing was postponed because the petitioner's lawyer was not present. The court said that the hearing should be concluded today itself even if the court has to sit beyond 4.30 pm. The court is expected to meet sometime before 5.00 pm. 

  • 14:33 (IST)

    Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira reach Pune court 

    Three of the five Left-wing activists, who were arrested yesterday by Maharashtra Police in connection with its ongoing probe into suspected Maoist links to an event held in Pune, have reached the Pune district court. 

    Telugu poet Varavara Rao, and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were brought to Pune late on Tuesday night. 

  • 14:27 (IST)

    Mayawati slams 'abuse of power', says govt going after champions of Dalit rights 

    Mayawati has said that the violence that followed the Bhima-Koregaon celebration was a conspiracy to instill fear among Dalits and supporters of Dalit activists. "Bhima-Koregaon celebration exhibits Dalit pride," she said.  

  • 14:21 (IST)

    Varavara Rao's daughter says police even seized old phones, laptops in raid

  • 14:20 (IST)

    Delhi HC begins hearing in Gautam Navlakha's case

  • 14:16 (IST)

    Maharashtra Home Minister Deepak Karsekar says arrested activists repeat offenders. claims govt has ample evidence against them

  • 14:09 (IST)

    Gautam Navlakha says case against him ploy to divert attention from right-wing terror

    Gautam Navlakha has issued a statement ahead of the hearing in Delhi High Court. He said that this is a political ploy by this vindictive and cowardly government to shield the real culprits of the Bhima Koregaon violence. 

  • 13:52 (IST)

    The common thread that links all arrests in Bhima Koregaon violence

    The police investigation in the Bhima Koregaon violence started with a shrill demand for the arrest of Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who were accused of making divisive and provocative speeches against Dalits who commemorate the victory in Bhima Koregaon violence. However, the investigation took a different direction after Maharashtra government claimed that the violence was a result of a conspiracy and had Maoists link to it. Subsequently, Dalit rights activists, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, and Surendra Gadling were arrested. 

    Now, Surendra Gadling was Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba’s lawyer, who is also often termed a 'Urban Naxal'. Saibaba, a paraplegic, is currently serving a life-term for allegedly conspiring to wage a war against India.   

    Gadling’s lawyer Susan Abraham, who was fighting cases for other human rights defenders as well, is the wife of activist Vernon Gonsalves, who was arrested by the Maharashtra Police after it raided the couples' house in Mumbai.

    Delhi-based lawyer Rona Wilson worked with the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners. Sudha Bharadwaj, meanwhile, was involved in publicly demanding arrest of Bhide for the Bhima Koregaon violence, and had condemned the arrests of fellow human rights lawyers in June in the case. 

  • 13:18 (IST)

    Vrinda grover on Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha's illegal arrests 

  • 13:12 (IST)

    SOPs not followed in activists' arrest: NHRC sends notice to Maharashtra government 

    The NHRC, in its notice to the Maharashtra government, said, "The Commission has observed that the standard operating procedure in connection with these arrests has not been properly followed by the police, which may amount to a violation of their human rights, according to reports. The NHRC has now issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Maharashtra calling for a factual report in the matter within four weeks."

  • 13:08 (IST)

    NHRC issues notice to Maharashtra govt over five activists arrest 

  • 12:56 (IST)

    As Congress supports activists arrested by Maharashtra Police, Union minister Kiren Rijiju has three questions the party

    Union minister Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter after Rahul Gandhi slammed his party for action against activists. Rijiju said, "Congress must explain: 1. The arrests of all the Maoists activists & sympathisers during Congress regime. 2. Jailing political opponents and journalists during emergency. 3. Today, the most vocal critics who abuse the Govt freely on daily basis are demanding freedom of speech."

  • 12:50 (IST)

    #MeTooUrbanNaxal trends on Twitter as support pours in for arrested activists 

    #MeTooUrbanNaxal is one of the top India Trends on Twitter, as support poured in for arrested human rights activists. The hashtag was a comeback of sorts by the Liberals to the right-wing's #UrbanNaxal trend. Popular right-leaning users on the micro-blogging site used the #UrbanNaxal to write out their opinion and support the crackdown on Left-leaning activists. However, Twitter users from the other end of the political spectrum soon started tweeting back with the new hashtag showing solidarity with the arrested activists. 

  • 12:40 (IST)

    Bhima Koregaon raids and arrests point to final days of civil liberties and liberal democracy in India: Justice Markandey Katju 

    Intellectuals can easily be silenced by showing them the fear of losing their jobs. The same is happening in India today. There is hardly any protest by professors in Indian universities and colleges against the raids and arrests of persons implicated in the Bhima Koregaon incident. The media's voice is muted and will soon reconcile itself to the situation...

    Intellectuals and liberals rely on rationalism. But rationalism cannot face squads of fascist goons, like the SA and SS in Nazi Germany, or the gau rakshaks and the might of the saffronised State in India. The coming Lok Sabha elections, in which no holds will be barred, including widespread use of strong-arm goons, will cap the process. The days of free speech, liberalism and free intellectualism are slowly coming to an end in India. 

    Read the full article here

  • 12:23 (IST)

    'Govt action reminiscent of Emergency if it fails to show evidence,' JDU's subtle warning to ally BJP on activist's arrest

    Janata Dal United has taken a cautious view of the matter relating to the arrest of intellectuals and human rights activists. Although the party did not openly oppose the police action, JD(U) leader Pawan Verma said that now that the government has gone ahead with the arrests, they should be able to back their actions with proof.

    "Government must show that it has evidence to back up its actions against alleged Maoist activists. If evidence is not convincing then this kind of action goes directly against supremacy of rule under constitutional democracy which allows right to free speech and dissent. If government is unable to produce conclusive evidence, then I am afraid actions of this nature will sound very ominously reminiscent of what happened during the Emergency," Verma siad. 

  • 12:14 (IST)

    Sudha Bharadwaj to be produced before Punjab and Haryana High Court tomorrow

    The police have confirmed that lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj will be produced before the high court on Thursday. However, she will not be allowed to interact with the media. She remains under a house arrest, where she is allowed to meet only her advocates and family members. 

  • 12:09 (IST)

    Protests break out in Hyderabad after five activists' arrest; police detain protesters 

    Accoring to a report in India Today, intellectuals and activists took to streets in Hyderabad to protest against the arrest of five human rights activists on Tuesday. The police has, however, detained the protestors. 

  • 11:51 (IST)

    3 Left-wing activists arrested after raids brought to Pune

    Three of the five Left-wing activists, who were arrested yesterday by Maharashtra Police in connection with its ongoing probe into suspected Maoist links to an event held in Pune, were brought to the city late last night, the police said.

     
    A senior Pune police officer said that prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao, and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira are likely to be produced in a court later in the day.

  • 11:44 (IST)

    Gautam Navlakha's colleague says he strives for truth; claims 'Urban Naxal' tag a media-driven propaganda  

  • 11:34 (IST)

    BJP ally Shiv Sena slams arrest of human rights activists 

    BJP ally Shiv Sena has slammed the arrest of five activists in connection with Bhima- Koregaon violence saying it is wrong to arrest activists for political gains. "The mastermind of Bhima- Koregaon violence has yet not been arrested," Manisha Kayande, leader of Shiv Sena told CNN-News18. 

  • 11:33 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi hits out at BJP over crackdown on activists

    Rahul Gandhi, who is on a tour to flood-hit Kerala, hit out at BJP and RSS over the police action against five Left-leaning human rights activists. Rahul said that there were two ideologies pitted against one another: While one seeks to accept all versions of India and everybody's point of views, the other wants only one ideology to prevail, the one based out of Nagpur. 

  • 11:26 (IST)

    Journalist Pranav Dikshit calls for suspension of Vivek Agnihotri's Twitter account over his list of 'Urban Naxals' 

  • 11:12 (IST)

    Delhi HC postpones hearing on arrest of Gautam Navlakha 

    The Division bench composed of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel of the Delhi High Court, will now hear the writ petition filed by activist Gautam Navlakha at 2.15 pm on Wednesday. The matter was scheduled to be taken up today morning, however, it was postponed for a later time after Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi submitted that translation of documents isn't ready and the same will be provided to petitioners by 12 noon today, The Leaflet  reported

  • 11:04 (IST)

    'Punished for being Varavara Rao's son-in-law,' Prof K Satyanarayana's emotional press statement after his home was raided

    "My thirty years of academic life has been destroyed in five minutes. They asked me 'why are you reading Mao', 'why are you reading Marx', and 'why are you keeping the photos of Ambedkar and Phule instead of gods and goddesses... Nothing criminal they found, but they don't understand that I have to read and teach,"  Professor Satyanarayana said. 

    Video procured by Greeshma Rai 

Bhima Koregaon raids latest updates: Lashing out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his tweet calling the arrested as "human rights activists", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "Today, Congress has reached a new low. The Congress is standing with the Left-Wing Extremists. Naxals are Naxals when you arrest them, but they are human rights' activists when we arrest them?"

At a press conference, the Pune Police said that the activists arrested for suspected Maoist links had shown a strong intolerance to political system.

The Supreme Court ordered that they be placed under house arrest till 5 September. During the hearing the counsel appearing for Maharashtra, raised the issue of maintainability of the plea, saying a "stranger" cannot seek relief for the activists who have already approached the high courts.

The Maharashtra government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that "strangers" cannot seek relief for activists who have already approached the high court. The plea in the apex court is by historian Romila Thapar and four other human right activists against the arrest of Left-wing activists by Maharashtra Police for suspected links with Maoists.

In the pune court, the public prosecutor has told the court that Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernn Gonsalves were members of the CPI Maoist.

Delhi High Court has questioned the credibility of the witnesses to Gautam Navlakha's arrest.

Three of the five Left-wing activists, who were arrested yesterday by Maharashtra Police in connection with its ongoing probe into suspected Maoist links to an event held in Pune, have reached the Pune district court. Telugu poet Varavara Rao, and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were brought to Pune late on Tuesday night.

The Delhi High Court has deferred the hearing on the transit remand of Gautam Navlakha for 3.30 pm today. The hearing was postponed because the petitioner's lawyer was not present. The court said that they will hear the plea today itself even if they have to sit beyond the usual working hours.

The Delhi High Court has started hearing the plea against arrest of journalist Gautam Navlakha. The Division bench composed of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel of the Delhi High Court is hearing the matter.

Gautam Navlakha has issued a statement ahead of the hearing in Delhi High Court. He said that this is a political ploy by this vindictive and cowardly government to shield the real culprits of the Bhima Koregaon violence.

sudha_bharadwaj_gautam_ferreira_ptiandwikimedia

In its notice to Maharashtra government, the National Human Rights Commission has also mentioned the arrests of Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, and Surendra Gadling in June as well. The NHRC said it received complaints from a Geneva-based NGO and sought a fact-based report in the case within four weeks.

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo-motu notice of the arrest of five rights' actvists from various states. The commission, in its notice to the Maharashtra government, said that it has observed a violation of certain rights in the manner the activists were arrested and that certain standard operating procedures were not followed.

Janata Dal United has taken a cautious view of the matter relating to the arrest of intellectuals and human rights activists. Although the party did not openly oppose the police action, JD(U) leader Pawan Verma said that now that the government has gone ahead with the arrests, they should be able to back their actions with proof.

Massive protests broke out in Hyderabad as civil rights groups, journalists and professors took to streets to protest against the arrest of activists' including Telegu poet Varavara Rao. The police has detained the protestors.

The Division bench composed of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel of the Delhi High Court, will now hear the writ petition filed by activist Gautam Navlakha at 2.15 pm on Wednesday. The matter was scheduled to be taken up today morning, however, it was postponed for a later time after Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi submitted that translation of documents isn't ready and the same will be provided to petitioners by 12 noon today.

Professor Romila Thapar has filed a petition against the arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders in the Supreme Court. The petition, which is being represented by advocate Vrinda Grover on Thapar's behalf, is supported by Indira Jaisingh and other prominent human rights activist. The matter is likely to be mentioned before the Chief Justice of India today.

Advocate Susan Abraham, and wife of Vernon Gonsalves, said that the police crackdown against the activists was politically motivated and the authorities were acting under pressure from the government. "But will your case stand the scrutiny of a court," she asked.

After Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted against the government action on Left-wing and human rights activists, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has hit out at him today. Calling 'Maoists' number one threat to national security, Rijiju criticised Rahul for coming out in support of 'Maoists.'

Human Rights Groups and various activists have decried the arrest of five Left-leaning intellectuals and raids at their homes. Author Arundhati Roy called the Maharashtra Police crackdown 'an attempted coup against the Indian Constitution' while historian Ramachandra Guha called the action "absolutely chilling". Lawyer Prashant Bhushan said, "Fascist fangs are now openly bared. It is a clear declaration of emergency. They are going after anyone who has spoken against the government on rights issues. They are against any dissent."

A letter purportedly written by a Maoist leader and seized by the police in April this year hails prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao for his alleged "guidance" in various Naxal activities in the country.

The letter in question was part of a bunch of documents seized by the Pune police during the searches at the premises of five people arrested in June this year for alleged links with Maoists. The searches were carried out in different parts of the country in April. The letter written in Hindi by one comrade named Milind, hails Rao, described as a "senior comrade", and advocate Surendra Gadling for their "guidance" in carrying out Naxal activities in various parts of the country.

Police on Tuesday arrested five human rights activists and alleged Maoist sympathizers, including Left ideologue Varavara Rao, in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima riots in Maharashtra.

The raids took place at 10 places in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Haryana.

"We have arrested Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Pereira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha," Joint Police Commissioner of Pune Shivajirao Bodkhe told IANS.

Besides, other activists across the country including Kranti, Stan Swami and Anand Teltumbde were raided in the major operation that is part of the ongoing probe into the involvement of Maoist supporters into the Bhima-Koregaon riots of 1 January this year.

In a related development, the Delhi High Court directed Maharashtra Police not to take Navlakha out of Delhi till Wednesday and keep him under house arrest till further orders.

The court directive came on a habeas corpus petition filed by Navlakha's counsel seeking to know his whereabouts. The police told the court that they had already got transit remand of the accused from a magistrate.

Scores of supporters of these activists staged noisy protests during the police raids at various locations, including in Mumbai and Thane.

The arrests also evoked condemnation from other activists and former bureaucrats who expressed shock over the raids on the homes of intellectuals and activists critical of the BJP.

They called it an attempt to strike terror among those fighting for justice for the marginalised.

The signatories to the joint statement included Admiral (retd) L Ramdas, former bureaucrat Harsh Mander, former JNU student activist Shehla Rashid Shora, journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and rights activists Teesta Setalvad and Swami Agnivesh.

Among the angles being probed after Tuesday's crackdown are the modus operandi of the activists, their sources of finance and modes of funding of their activities, their suspected connections with like-minded groups and related issues, officials indicated.

Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) President Prakash Ambedkar called it an attempt by the government to "silence the masses" in the wake of the recent crackdown on the Hindu rightwing group Sanatan Sanstha.

"But now NGOs which are non-political will become more active and aggressive than they were earlier in opposing this (BJP) government in order to safeguard democracy and human rights," warned Ambedkar, the grandson of B.R. Ambedkar.

Officials described Tuesday's operations as a follow-up to similar action taken on April 17 when the Pune Police swooped on over half a dozen Dalit activists and those involved with the Kabir Kala Manch, which organised an Elgar Conference in Pune on December 31.

The next day, on January 1, caste riots erupted in Bhima-Koregaon which left one person dead, culminating in a Maharashtra shutdown on January 3 called by the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh of Prakash Ambedkar.

After nearly five months, Pune Police teams fanned out in around half a dozen states and raided the homes and offices of several persons who are suspected to be linked with the Elgar Conference or are considered as Maoist supporters.

The police have seized items like computers, laptops, CDs, pen-drives, 'incriminating documents' and books from them and contended that they functioned like an 'urban think tank' for Maoists.

Previously, during the April action, the Pune police had targeted rights activists like Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale (all arrested) besides raiding Harshali Potdar, Jyoti Jagtap, Ramesh Gaychor and Sagar Gorke.

Those arrested were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Indian Penal Code.


Updated Date: Aug 29, 2018 20:02 PM

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