PUNE: Members of leftist and “progressive” organisations came together for protests outside the District Collector’s office, condemning the serial raids conducted by the Pune police on the residences of activists with alleged connections with Elgar Parishad and Naxalites and their being labelled as ‘Urban Maoists’.
Activists like Anand Teltumbde, Varavara Rao, Stan Swamy, Gautam Navalakha, Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bharadwaj were raided by the Pune police on Tuesday.
The protesters expressed shock about the manner in which the activists were charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) with “baseless” allegations about a conspiracy to kill the prime minister and the BJP president.
Coming together on a platform, ‘Rise against fascism’, they vowed to continue their struggle against alleged targeting of those raising their voice against the Modi government’s policies.
The protesters presented the Pune Police with a ‘certificate of dishonour’ for their ‘stellar performance in conducting raids and arrests on the basis of fabricated evidence’. The protesters demanded that all “false and fabricated” cases against recently arrested activists be withdrawn, the arrest of Sambhaji Bhide for alleged culpability in the Koregaon-Bhima riots and preservation of democratic fabric and the Constitution.
Organisations that gathered for the protest included Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Akhil Bhartiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana (AIDWA), Ambedkarite Students Organisation, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, Bharip-Bahujan Mahasangh, Bhima Koregaon Shaury Din Prerana Abhiyan, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), Dalit Adivasi Adhikar Manch, Jan Arogya Abhiyan, Jati Ant Sangharsh Samiti, National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM), Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) among others.