Several activists met in Vijayawada for a protest meeting on Wednesday, to condemn the house arrest of five human rights activists across the country last week.
Coming together under the banner of the Bhima Koregaon Struggle Solidarity Committee, which comprises of as many as eight civil society organisations, activists lashed out at the BJP-led Union Government and accused it of abusing its power and indulging in human rights violations.
At the event, which even saw cultural performances by artists of Praja Kalamandali, the activists took a dig at the word âUrban Naxalâ and added that the arrests were made out of fear of losing power in the upcoming elections in 2019.
Duddu Prabhakar, Convener of the Solidarity Committee, told those who had gathered, "BJP is using violence as a tool to come into power, which is the actual Gujarat model. Instead of arresting those who killed 14 Dalits during the Bhima Koregaon incident, they are arresting intellectuals in order to divert attention.â
Chilaka Chandrashekar of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) said that the BJP was unable to digest the celebration of a historical victory by Dalits against Peshwa rule.
"This framing of activists under dubious charges proves that this is PM Narendra Modiâs plan to come back into power in 2019, as his popularity graph has recently gone down,â he said.
VV Krishna Rao of the Samatha Party said, "What we are seeing is an outright destruction of the federal system and Sangh Parivarâs desperate attempts to penetrate into the south. We have a strong background of countering Hindutva in the past like Periyar in Tamil Nadu and Tripuraneni Ramaswamy from Andhra Pradesh. We should bring their ideas back, to counter these efforts."
P Prasad from the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), speaking at the event, said, "The BJP is facing a backslash as it trying to implement its fascist agenda here. The repression of dissent shows how insecure the Sangh Parivar is.â
Pichuka Srinivas from the Indian Association of Peoples Lawyers (IAPL) said, "RSS -BJP aren't mere religious extremists. They're anti-democratic and anti-people.â
Kalyan Rao, popular writer and Virasam member, speaking as a chief guest at the protest meet, said, âA militant approach of Hindutva is being imposed. Whoever doesn't agree to be submissive to their religion, are being attacked. They are openly claiming that except Hinduism, no other religion has the space."
He further said that the country had reached a stage where its ruling party was not ready to tolerate it, even if a common person tries to express his displeasure over the present state of affairs.
He urged people from all marginal sections that only uncompromising collective movements could guarantee the rights that they seek. The meeting was also attended by several CPI and CPI (M) leaders.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Police on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that five rights activists, who have been kept under house arrest, belong to banned terrorist outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist) and were allegedly engaged in planning and execution of large-scale violence, having the potential of destabilising the society.
Seeking the vacation of the August 29 order by which five activists were put under house arrest and seeking their custodial interrogation, the state police urged the court to permit it to take them in its (police) custody and interrogate them in accordance with the law.
Describing dissent as a safety valve, the Supreme Court had on August 29 ordered that the five human rights activists arrested by the Pune Police should be kept under house arrest until the next date of hearing on September 6.
Justice Chandrachud noted that the arrests had taken place nine months after the activists were linked to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Maharashtra.
Those arrested included Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Haryana and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonzalves in Maharashtra.