Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha. (Source: Image tweeted by @Sudhabharadwaj and Zee News Network) Photograph:( Others )
Out of 10 activists who have been arrested by the Pune police in connection to the Bhima Koregaon violence case, 7 had reportedly featured in a list prepared by the UPA government in 2012, identifying organisations and individuals linked to the banned CPI (Maoist).
Ministry of Home Affairs had identified 128 organisations which were allegedly linked to the insurgent Maoists. Seven of those organisations were linked to activists Varavara Rao, Sudha Bhardwaj, Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Mahesh Raut.
All of them have been charged by the Pune Police under relevant IPC sections of criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity among castes and religious groups, along with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The note prepared by the UPA government in 2012 reportedly instructed the state governments to take action against the 128 outfits who are acting as fronts of the Naxalites.
Notably, among the activists arrested by the Pune police, at least three have spent time behind the bars earlier as well.
Ferreira and Gonsalves, two of the five arrested yesterday, were held in 2007 too and they had spent several years in prison.
Similarly, Rao has been arrested several times by the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Police in the past.
Since 2001, altogether 6,956 civilians and 2,517 security personnel have been killed by the CPI (Maoist), according to a government figure.
Naxal violence has also caused massive damage to infrastructure and virtually stalled development activities in some parts of the country.
The Maharashtra Police has named the organisations to which the arrested people belong: Surendra Gadling (General Secretary, Indian Association of People's Lawyers), Rona Wilson (Public Relation Secretary, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners), Sudhir Dhawale (Republican Panthers), Shoma Sen (Executive Member, Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights) and Mahesh Raut (State Convener, Maharashtra, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan). All were arrested on June 6.
Those who were arrested yesterday are: Varavara Rao (President, Revolutionary Democratic Front), Sudha Bharadwaj (Vice-President, Indian Association of People's Lawyers), Gautam Navlakha (Leader, People's Union for Democratic Rights), Vernon Gonsalves (ex-Secretary, Maharashtra State Committee of CPI/Maoist) and Arun Ferreira (ex-Member, Maharashtra State Committee of CPI-Maoist).
(With inputs from PTI)