The Maharashtra Police on Tuesday carried out several raids at multiple locations across the country and arrested a few prominent activists, including Gautam Navlakha and Varavara Rao, for their alleged Maoist links. The arrests were made following the raids at their homes in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence that broke out a day after the Elgaar Parishad event held on December 31, 2017.
Several teams of Pune police raided the residences of activist and journalist Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, revolutionary writer Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Stan Swamy in Ranchi and Anand Teltumbde in Goa.
So far, the police have arrested Varvara Rao, Arun Pereira, Gautam Navlakha, Varnan Gonsalves and Sudha Bhardwaj. It has also got the transit remand of Navlakha till August 30. They all have been booked under sections 153 A, 505(1) B,117,120 B,13,16,18,20,38,39,40 and UAPA, according to news agency ANI.
While investigating the case, the Pune Police had claimed that the speeches made during the Elgaar Parishad event triggered the violence that broke out on January 1 during the celebrations of the two-hundredth anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in 1818.
This was the second such operations in the last three months. Earlier in June, the Pune police had carried out similar searches and arrested five “urban Maoist operatives” from Delhi, Mumbai and Nagpur.
From the raids, the police had claimed to have recovered a letter mentioning a plan to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lines of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
All the five people arrested by the police in June are lodged in at Yervada central prison in Pune. The police reportedly claimed that today’s raids at residences of prominent activists came as a result of the interrogation of these people.