Rahul Gandhi. Photograph:( PTI )
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday criticised the government over the arrest of prominent Left-wing activists for suspected Maoist links, saying that in the "new India", there was place for only one NGO -- the RSS.
The Maharashtra Police raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested at least five of them as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Peshwas at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year.
"There is only place for one NGO in India and it's called the RSS. Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India," Gandhi said in a tweet with the hashtag Bhima Koregaon.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Jaipal Reddy condemned the raids and arrests saying no human rights activists should be arrested without a case.
"I condemn those arrests in unqualified terms. No human rights activist should be arrested. For that matter, no Indian can be arrested without proper case. I defend the rights of everybody, more particularly human rights protesters. They are selfless NGOs, activists, who are obliged to fight the enveloping darkness of dictatorial tendencies," he told reporters when asked about the arrests of some activists by the Pune police.
Near-simultaneous raids were carried out at the residences of prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Farreira in Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad, and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in New Delhi.
Subsequently, Rao, Bhardwaj, Farreira, Gonzalves and Navalakha were arrested under IPC Section 153 (A), which relates to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, said the official.