On August 31, the Maharashtra police had organised a press conference to detail why the five activists were arrested from across the country.

Bombay HC raps Maharashtra police for holding press conference on activists arrests Wikimedia Commons
news Court Monday, September 03, 2018 - 14:01

The Bombay High Court rapped the Maharashtra police on Monday for holding a press conference on the arrest of the five activists from across the country when the matter was still pending in court. The Court was hearing a petition demanding an NIA enquiry into the Elgar Parishad matter.

The court has adjourned the matter till September 7 because all the copies of the petition were not served to all concerned persons.

The petition filed in the court had sought that an NIA inquiry into the Elgar Parishad held on December 31 last year, organised by the Kabir Kala Manch, where inciting speeches were allegedly delivered. On January 1, Bhima Koregaon witnessed massive protests and caste-based riots in which one person was killed.

On August 31, the Maharashtra police organised a press conference to detail why the five activists – lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj from Haryana, Varavara Rao from Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha from Delhi, and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves from Maharashtra – were detained.

Addressing the press conference, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Param Bir Singh stated that the five were arrested only after ‘clear evidence’ against them. The police stated that they had accessed a letter written via email by Rona Wilson to a comrade Prakash, which spoke of the “requirement of Rs 8 crore for the annual supply of grenade launchers.” The letter also speaks of “steps to end Modi-raj with a Rajiv Gandhi-like incident,” stated PB Singh.

After a primary investigation, it was revealed that there was a CPI (Maoist) conspiracy to establish an all-India front against the government, to create a situation of chaos, disrupt law and order, and then overthrow the government,” PB Singh had told the media on August 31.

The Pune police had arrested the five activists on August 29 and after hearing a plea against their arrests, the Supreme Court had ordered that they be placed under house arrest.

The police had made similar kinds of arrests earlier this year on April 17 when they arrested a dozen Dalit activists – including human rights activists like Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale – and those involved with the Kabir Kala Manch, which organised the Elgar Parishad in Pune.

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