New Delhi: Journalist and human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested by Pune Police in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon riots of January, on Wednesday said that the entire case was a political ploy against political dissent by this "vindictive and cowardly government".
In a statement, he said the government was bent upon shielding the real culprits of the Bhima-Koregaon violence in Maharashtra and thus divert attention from its own "scams and failures which stretch from Kashmir to Kerala.
"A political trial must be fought politically and I welcome this opportunity. I have to do nothing. It is for the Maharashtra Police, working at the best of their political masters, to prove their case against me and my comrades who too have been arrested.
"We, in PUDR (People's Union for Democratic Rights), have collectively and fearlessly fought for more than 40 years for the cause of democratic rights and I, as part of PUDR, have covered many such trials. Now I myself will be a witness to a political trial with a ringside view," Navlakha said.
Navlakha and four other alleged Maoist sympathisers, including revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, were arrested in raids across various cities by the Pune Police in connection with a public meeting held in Pune on December 31 last year, a day before the violence in Koregaon Bhima, 60 km from Pune.
Meanwhile, there was drama on Tuesday night when Sudha Bharadwaj, another arrested activitst, was brought to the house of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sector 15 A in Faridabad in Haryana, bordering Delhi.
"The roads in the area are very dark and dimly lit and her counsel was asked to make a presentation in the driveway of the CJM's house," an associate of Bharadwaj said.
Senior lawyer Vrinda Grover urged the CJM to allow her to make a proper presentation as it was impossible for her to show any documents in the driveway.
The CJM then invited the counsels inside his residence where she said some applications needed to be presented.
The Magistrate said that he was informed that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had passed some orders in the case of Bhardwaj and the hearing went on till late in the night.
Bharadwaj was detained in a vehicle outside the Magistrate's residence even as the hearing was on.