Police arrest 5 in connection with Bhima-Koregaon violence in countrywide raid
28 August 2018
Police teams today arrested at least five activists suspected to have Maoist links in the Bhima-Koregaon violence, after the Pune police conducted raids across India.
Those arrested include activist-poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad, and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in Delhi.
Raids were conducted on their residences across Hyderabad, Delhi, Haryana, Mumbai and Ranchi, ANI quoted Shivaji Bodkhe, Joint Commissioner of Police (law and order), Pune, as saying.
Arun Ferreira, a human rights activist and lawyer, and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested in Mumbai in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence case.
Speaking to the news website, Ferreira said he was arrested for representing Surendra Gadling, who was earlier arrested on 6 June along with four others in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence
In Delhi, a police team raided the residence of civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha, who is currently under house arrest after the Delhi High Court ordered that he should not be taken away from the national capital till it hears the matter on 29 August.
The high court heard a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of Navlakha by his advocate Warisha Farasat on Tuesday, after he was picked up from his residence by the Maharashtra police.
In Faridabad, a police team arrested civil rights lawyer and trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj, who is currently a practising lawyer in the Chhattisgarh High Court.
According to a report in The Wire, Sudha Bharadwaj has been taken to Surajkund and has been charged under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), section 505 (statements conducting to public mischief), section 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than 10 persons) and section 120 of IPC.
In Hyderabad, the residences of Left wing activist and poet Varavara Rao, and two other activists Kranti Tekula and Naseem were raided. The police then arrested Rao, while detaining Kranti Tekula as well, reported Scroll.in. The website reported that the houses of Rao's daughters were also searched.
In Ranchi, the police raided Stan Swamy's residence after the Pune police received a tip-off regarding "confidential information" in his possession.
The team reportedly seized all of Swamy's electronic possessions – including laptops, hard drives, cassettes and CDs, so as to prevent him from destroying any information.
The country-wide raids were part of an ever-expanding investigation into an alleged Maoist involvement in the Elgaar Parishad, an event that was held a day before the bicentennial of Bhima Koregaon. According to the police, the speeches made at Elgaar Parishad incited violence during the Bhima Koregaon event on 1 January 2018.
On 6 June, Professor Shoma Sen, advocate Surendra Gadling, cultural activist Sudhir Dhawale, human rights activist Rona Wilson, and anti-displacement activist Mahesh Raut, were arrested from different locations in Nagpur, Mumbai and Delhi by the Maharashtra police.