Arrests of 5 ‘activists’ with alleged Maoist link to be challenged in Supreme Court today

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The arrests of the activists and alleged Maoists sympathisers will be challenged in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. P Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bharadwaj were arrested by Pune police following the raids in multiple cities in connection with an ongoing investigation into the Bhima Koregaon violence.

Historian Romila Thapar and four human right activists move the SC against the arrest of rights activists by Maharashtra Police. During their investigation, the Pune Police discovered that a conspiracy of the assassination of Prime Minister was being plotted. The raids that were conducted in Pune, Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Faridabad, Delhi and Thane was the second time such raids took place.

The arrests were questioned by Congress and CPI(M) who said that arrests were “motivated”. Susan Abraham, the wife of Goncalves, said that the raids and arrests were conducted because of “government’s pressure”. “This is being done under government’s pressure. If you think Bhima Koregaon was an assassination plot, then file an FIR. You’ve made this case, will it stand before the court?” she asked. She said that whoever is not supporting the BJP government is considered “anti-national”.

Bhima Koregaon violence erupted in January this year, where one person was killed and many were injured in the violence and riots in Pune.

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Lawyer of Bharadwaj, another activist who was picked up from Faridabad,  said the transit bail application was dismissed. “We had informed Chief Judicial Magistrate that the High Court in Chandigarh intervened and passed an interim order that Pune Police won’t take her under custody and she will be under house arrest for three days.”

The petition against the arrest of the activists was mentioned before a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra which agreed to give an urgent hearing today itself at 3:45 PM. In the petition, which was mentioned by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the historian and other right activists have sought release of all activists who have been arrested during raids in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case.

They have also sought an independent probe into the arrests. The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Peshwas at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year.