SC orders house arrest of Maoist sympathisers

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Aug 2018 08:31:39




Supreme Court questions the State Police’s move to arrest these activists nine months after the Bhima-Koregaon incident

THE Supreme Court, on Wednesday, directed that the five Left-wing activists arrested by Pune police should be kept under house arrest until the next date of hearing on September 6.

In a relief to the activists, an apex court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud ordered the house arrest on a petition filed by well-known historian Romila Thapar as well as Devika Jain, Prabhat Patnaik, Satish Deshpande and Maja Dharuwala challenging the Tuesday arrests.

Taking a dim view of the crackdown, Justice Chandrachud said: “Dissent is a safety valve of democracy. If it is not allowed, the pressure cooker will burst.” Those arrested on Tuesday included Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Haryana and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonzalves in Maharashtra.

Chandrachud noted that the arrests had taken place nine months after the activists were linked to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Maharashtra.“Nine months after Koregoan incident you go and arrest these people,” the judge said.

When Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta questioned the maintainability of the petition by Romila Thapar and others, saying “strangers” can’t seek relief for the arrested activists who had already approached the High Court”, Chief Justice Misra said, “Nomenclature of the petition does not matter.”

Telling Mehta that they will hear the matter, Justice Chandrachud said: “It is a larger issue as their concern is that you are quelling dissent.” The court issued notice seeking a response from the Centre, Maharashtra and Haryana to the petition by Thapar and other activists and directed the next hearing on September 6.


Arrest based on proof of ‘Naxal links’: Mah Govt


THE Maharashtra Government on Wednesday defended the arrest of five Left-wing activists in multi-state raids saying, the action was based on “proof” about their “links with the Naxal movement”. Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar said that all procedures were followed before conducting the raids against the activists.

Pune Police on Tuesday raided homes of some prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested five of them -- poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and Chhattisgarh and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in Delhi. “It is due to their links with Naxal movements that they have been arrested. If there was no evidence, we would not have taken the action. We have followed the procedures before conducting raids against these Naxal activists,” Kesarkar said.

“Actions are not taken to please anyone. Unless we had proofs, we would not have conducted the raids,” he added.
The minister said Naxals were fighting a war against India.
“It is not wrong to be Left-wing, but it is wrong to be a Left-wing extremist,” he said.

Kesarkar said Professor Saibaba (Delhi University professor arrested in 2014 for alleged links with Maoists) is a classic example of the intellectuals misusing their brains against the country. The Naxal movement is banned in the country and nobody should sympathise with it, he added.

On the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) letter to the Maharashtra Government seeking information about the operation, he said, “It is the Government’s duty to respond to the NHRC letter. It is a routine procedure. It does not necessarily mean we are doing anything wrong.”