The question is whether the arrest of these activists are justified or not. HW News brings you reaction from across party lines:
The Maharashtra Police today revealed the connection between the Maoist group and arrested activists on Tuesday planning to overthrow the Narendra Modi government. Pune police on Tuesday during raids at various parts of the country arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, and P Varavara Rao in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence in January. The police had alleged the arrested activists have links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Addressing a Press Conference, PB Singh, ADG Law and Order said, the arrested activists played an active and crucial role in a conspiracy by Maoist organizations to overthrow the lawfully established Indian government using weapons procured from Russia and China. Displaying letters allegedly exchanged by some of the arrested activists PB Singh said that the evidence collected so far clearly establishes links of arrested activists with Maoist organisations.
Reading out the contents of a letter written by one of the accused to Varvara Rao, PB Singh read, “Due to enemy’s decision to impose demonetisation, we haven’t been able to help comrades in Gadchiroli and Chhattisgarh… please don’t misunderstand me. Bhima Koregaon agitation has been successful. The unfortunate death of a youth must be exploited. The riots were effective and we should mobilise the Dalit population against the rising brahmin-centred agenda of the BJP.”
However, on the other hand, several intellectuals and activists have come out in support of the arrested human rights activists and lawyers saying the arrest is an attempt to suppress dissent. The Supreme Court in a hearing on Wednesday had ordered that all these five activists should be kept under house arrest till 6 September and observed that the “dissent is a safety valve of democracy”.
Now, the question is whether the arrest of these activists are justified or not. HW News brings you reaction from across party lines:
Anwar Rajan, Member, PUCL:
“There may be an inquiry but before the inquiry, the arrest is not justifiable. If you find any proof then there is a chance to arrest but before that, it is not justifiable. We have to clearly put some proof that it is a conspiracy or these are the proofs. this is not at all justifiable. I don’t know if this decision is from police or its the government’s decision. It may be the decision of the government because there was a discussion going on, on Sanatan Sanstha people’s hand in the killings of Dabholkar, Pansare and so on. So, I think the present government, it is BJP and Sangh Parivar, they want to divert the people’s attention towards some other issue and it may be the reason that they created this type of issues and then the arrest.”
D Raja, CPI MP:
“It is police who alleged the charges, why should one believe polices version. People should look at the truth and these are all well-known activists and everybody knows about them. Where is the evidence? police have not produced any evidence, that is why we are strong on reservations. It is nothing but an action by the Maharashtra police and the government to intimidate the activists. It is also an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the failure of Maharastra government and Maharastra police not taking any action against Sanatan Sanstha. Why did they not arrest the culprits in the perceived matter? So the government cannot resort to such arbitrary arrests of the activists just to intimidate everybody in the country.”
“Those who are critical of the government, those who question the government, they are all being intimidated. Even the Supreme court has taken note of that and it has said that dissent is a part of our democracy and they cannot be put in a police custody like this. This is what one should try to understand. There is also a growing assertion of the Dalits in the country because there is an increase in the attacks on Dalits and their constitutional rights, democratic rights. What happened in Maharashtra, Bhima Koregaon, who should be held responsible for this? Maharashtra police should answer, Maharashtra government should answer. Instead of taking any credible action against those people who resorted to violence and planned such an attack on Dalits. Now the government is trying to intimidate all activists by arresting them.”
PK Jain, Ex-IPS officer:
“As a police officer, I would say that it is too early to say whether it is justified or not. The police have found the letters, sometime in the month of June or so, they have worked on that information for the next two months. It is September now. In the last week of August, they have made the arrest or detention, whatever it was. That means they have worked on the information for two months. They must have got something in their hands which I am not aware of, which you are not aware of. So they must have made the arrest on some basis. It is very difficult for me to comment on whether it was justified or not but what I presume as an Ex-Police officer is that the arrest would be based on some information available with the police and let the law take its own course. Let them take it to its logical conclusion.”
Vishwajeet Kumar, General Secretary, AISF:
“It automatically reveals a serious situation prevailing in the country. An anonymous letter comes for the prime minister stating that he will be killed. There is no fact and explanation about it. However, such kind of police action is very unfortunate. This move is taking the country towards the dark history. It shows that our government has become absolutely fascist. We are completely against it. A kind of atmosphere is being created where those keeping the books of Karl Marx are termed Naxalite or Maoist. There is a conspiracy to end the education, dialogue, debate and dissent within the country, but the public will not accept it. The end of all things is certain, the public is getting up. At present, they have the power of media and wealth and all the powers in their hands, due to which they are seen in front, but this will change after a few days.”