The Supreme Court has ordered house arrest for all five activists till 5 September.
The multi-city raids and subsequent arrests of several prominent activists by Pune Police which claimed that they were involved in the Bhima Koregaon violence has stirred a massive outrage across the country. The Opposition has described the action against these ‘urban Naxals’ as ‘virtual declaration of emergency’.
The Pune police on Tuesday (August 28) raided homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested at least five of them – poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and Chhattisgarh and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in Delhi.
The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalit and the upper caste groups at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad on December 31 last year.
Soon after Sudha Bhardwaj was taken into custody, her lawyers alleged that Pune Police defied the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court barring her arrest till August 30. The drama over Bhardwaj’s cutody continued till midnight and ended only after she was granted granted house arrest by a magistrate, who also asked the Pune Police to comply with the high court’s order.