MUMBAI: In an operation spread across several cities, the Pune police on Tuesday arrested five activists - Gautam Navalakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves - for their alleged involvement in instigating the Koregaon-Bhima violence in January. Members of the civil society condemned the arrest. Justice BG Kolse Patil alleged that it is an undeclared emergency.
Activists from various organisation condemned the arrests jointly in Mumbai in a press conference. Mihir Desai from PUCL, Hasina Khan from Awaz E Misua Foundation and Justice BG Kolse Patil addressed the press conference.
“The arrests were an attempt to muzzle dissenting voices, who have fought for the rights of the dispossessed for decades,” said Kolse Patil. He said that the Elgar Parishad at Pune was organised by him with the help of Justice PB Sawant.
“I was the first person who had launched the movement ‘RSS free India.’ The eminent persons arrested by the police and the Elgar Parishad had no relation. The Pune police had already clarified and the committee appointed by DIG of Western Zone also clarified the fact in their report. Even after that, the government is not ready to accept the committee’s report,” he said.
“We haven’t organised the Elgar Parishad with help of any organisation and surely not Naxalites,” he added.
“This arrest is to counter the demand of arrest of Sanatan Sanstha’s chief Jayant Athavale. The law is humiliated in this country. Constitution and section 19 of the constitution is not being followed here. This is State sponsored dangal in the country,” he said.