The Maharashtra government, which has been criticised for its crackdown on five rights activists over their alleged link with Bhima Koregaon violence, on Wednesday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, saying the activists were not arrested for their dissenting views but due to the cogent evidence linking them with the banned CPI (Maoist) party.
"They are involved in not only planning and preparing for violence but were in the process of creating large-scale violence, destruction of property resulting into chaos in the society as per the agenda prepared by the Communist Party of India (Maoist)," the affidavit added.
The affidavit also states 'They are involved in not only planning and preparing for violence but were in the process of creating large scale violence, destruction of property resulting into chaos in the society as per the agenda prepared by the Communist Party of India [Maoist].' https://t.co/5mWqYDf3nf— ANI (@ANI) September 5, 2018
Earlier on August 29, the apex court while ordering the house arrest of the five activists till September 6, had categorically said that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy”.
The counter affidavit, filed by the Maharashtra police on a plea of historian Romila Thapar and others challenging the arrest of these activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, alleged that they were planning to carry out violence in the country and ambush the security forces.
The state police said there was sufficient evidence to “dispel” the claim that they were arrested for their dissenting views. It also questioned the locus of the petitioners, Thapar and economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devika Jain, sociologist Satish Deshpande and legal expert Maja Daruwala, and said they were “strangers” to the investigation in the matter.
On August 28, Maharashtra Police in a coordinated raid across India arrested five prominent Left-wing activists for suspected Maoist links, sparking a chorus of outraged protests from human rights defenders. While prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira from Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha was arrested from Delhi.
The raids were carried out as part of a probe into an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year, which had later triggered violence at Maharashtra's Bhima-Koregaon village during the 200th birth anniversary celebration of a British-era war.