The Maharashtra government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in the arrest of the five activists by the Pune Police last week alleging they had connections with Naxals in invoking the violence happened in Bhima Koregaon.
The reply of the state, a 21-page affidavit surfaced a day before the hearing has to happen on a petition filed by Romila Thapar and four of the other activists. Invalidating the observation made by the court that just dissent in a democracy should not be punished. The state has said, “It is, however, submitted that the instant case is a case in which five accused persons for whose benefit the present petition is filed are not arrested based upon any dissenting expressed by them or difference in their political or other ideologies.” Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves were arrested on 26 August. However, they were kept under house arrest after the intervention by the Supreme Court the very next day.
The affidavit further mentions, “During the course of an intense investigation since the date on which the FIR is registered as pointed out herein, serious criminal offences are made out and incriminating material has emerged against them. This Hon’ble Court would be satisfied from the below-mentioned facts that, this Hon’ble Courtesy is not dealing with somebody ’s freedom of speech, freedom of conscience or freedom to hold and express views. This Hon’ble Court is dealing with persons against whom cogent evidence has so far come on record showing that they are active members of the banned terrorist organization namely, Communist Party of India [Maoist], and they are involved in not only planning and preparing for violence but were in the process of creating large-scale violence, destruction of property resulting into chaos in the society as per the agenda prepared by the Communist Party of India [Maoist], which was banned as a terrorist organization in 2009.”
The state said that the people who have been arrested along with the one who’s gone absconding, as a part of a calculated criminal conspiracy organized public meetings under the banner of ‘Elgaar Parishad’.
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