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Varavara Rao

Case filed against me based on false statements: Varavara Rao

Hyderabad | Poet Varavara Rao, one of the 5 activists arrested on Tuesday was brought to his residence in Hyderabad after the Supreme Court order.

Speaking to media after reaching home Varavara Rao said,”I am saying it from the beginning, that on basis of false statements, a case was filed against me. I have faith in the law.” The Supreme Court earlier on Wednesday ordered that Varavara Rao along with activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves, will be under house arrest till the next hearing on September 6. The constitution bench of the Supreme Court also ordered the Maharashtra government to file a response to the petition challenging the arrests.

After the apex court order, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj is kept under house arrest at her residence in Faridabad,  activist Gautam Navlakhai at his residence in Delhi, while Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Fereira were brought back to Pune.  Rao’s wife Hemlatha alleged that the police is “not allowing anyone except his daughters and sons-in-law” into the house and been told not to speak to media.

On Tuesday the Pune police conducted raids at houses of various activists and intellectuals in Delhi, Haryana, Mumbai, Thane, Ranchi and Hyderabad and arrested 5 activists in connection with an FIR lodged there following an event-‘Elgaar Parishad’ (conclave)- held on December 31 last year that had triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village. The police had also claimed that these people have a close aide with the Maoists.

Earlier in June, the police arrested five other people in connection with the Elgar Parishad event on December 31 last year to commemorate 200 years of the Koregaon Bhima battle. The police on the basis of the FIR filed in the Visrambaug Police Station alleged that the arrested ones made “provocative” speeches at the Elgar Parishad event, triggering violence at Koregaon Bhima village in the district. In June this year, the police arrested  Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale from his home in Mumbai, lawyer Surendra Gadling, activist Mahesh Raut and Shoma Sen were arrested from Nagpur while Rona Wilson was arrested from his flat in Munirka in Delhi.

On 1st January 2017, members belonging to the Dalit community had gathered at Bhima Koregaon in Pune to celebrate the 200th anniversary of their victory over the Peshwas. Some ‘Right-wing’ groups had reportedly opposed the Dalit celebrations which is said to have resulted in clashes between ‘right-wing’ groups and Dalits which later turned violent with stone throwing. Several people were injured while a 28-year-old person named Rahul Fatangale died in the clash.

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