Day after activists are arrested, #MeTooUrbanNaxal trends on Twitter

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Aug 29, 2018, 07:18 PM(IST)

Sudha Bharadwaj. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

A day after the arrest of the five activists, the hashtag #MeTooUrbanNaxal began trending on Twitter. 

It started with the Bollywood filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri — he has made, among others, Hate Story and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal — asking for "some bright young people to make a list of all those who are defending #UrbanNaxals." 

"Let’s see where it leads," he added. 

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Pratik Sinha, a co-founder of the fact-checking website altnews.in, replied to him. 

"Hey @vivekagnihotri," Sinha tweeted, "I volunteer to be on your list." 

He then added: "Let's tag @vivekagnihotri with the hashtag #MeTooUrbanNaxal and help him build his list. We should all help this man in his noble endeavour." 

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Sinha's call was very quickly taken up, and the hashtag soon began trending: 

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The five activists were arrested Wednesday after the Pune Police carried out raids in five different states. 

The lawyer and trade union activists Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested from Faridabad in Haryana. Bharadwaj practises at the Chhattisgarh high court in Bilaspur. (She is also a visiting professor at the National Law University, Delhi.) 

The others arrested included the poet Varavara Rao, who was arrested from his home in Hyderabad. 

The activists Arun Fereira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested from Mumbai, as was civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha from Delhi. 

"A team of 10 people came today morning. They didn't have a search warrant but were carrying another document. They checked our mobile phones and laptops and took all passwords," Bharadwaj's daughter Maaysha told ANI after her arrest. 

The blowback against the arrests was swift, with the opposition and civil society calling the arrests a coup against the Constitution, and fascist in nature. 

The historian Ramachandra Guha said that, as a biographer of Mahatma Gandhi, he was certain Gandhi would have donned his lawyer's robes and defended Bharadwaj in court. That is, he added, "assuming the Modi Sarkar hadn't yet detained and arrested him too." 

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court said the activists were to only be kept under house arrest. And that they were not to be transported to Maharashtra. 

The court also issued a notice to the Maharashtra government asking for its reply by September 5. 

The court will hear the case again on September 6. 

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