Poet-activist P. Varavara Rao, civil rights activist-lawyers Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves will now be under house arrest till September 6.

House arrest for Telugu poet Varavara Rao and 2 others Pune court ordersA protest in Hyderabad on Wednesday: PTI
news Controversy Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 07:52

A Pune court on Wednesday put under house arrest three of the five rights activists arrested a day earlier, hours after the Supreme Court orders in this regard.

They are poet-activist P. Varavara Rao, civil rights activist-lawyers Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves.

The Supreme Court had directed that all five arrested activists be placed under house arrest till the next hearing of the matter on September 6.

Describing dissent as a safety valve, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that the five human rights activists arrested by Pune Police should be kept under house arrest until the next date of hearing on September 6.

Rao was arrested from Hyderabad while the two others were held from Thane and Mumbai respectively on Tuesday by Pune police in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon riot on January 1.

Taking a dim view of the crackdown, Justice Chandrachud of the Supreme Court said: "Dissent is a safety valve of democracy. If it is not allowed, the pressure cooker will burst."

Chandrachud noted that the arrests had taken place nine months after the activists were linked to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Maharashtra. Visibly peeved over the action of the Pune Police, the judge said: "Nine months after Koregoan incident you go and arrest these people." 

Meanwhile, Shivajinagar Additional Sessions Judge K.D. Vadane told the three latest activists who were arrested and presented by the police for remand, "You shall be sent home and kept under house arrest."

Public Prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar had sought the police custody for all three. 

Pune Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivajirao Pawar later said that pursuant to court orders, arrangements will be made for the three accused to be sent to their respective homes.

"We had pleaded to put them under house arrest at a government facility. However, since there are specific directives of the Supreme Court, they will be sent to their places of residence," he added.

The police claimed, among other things, that the five arrested activists -- the three along with lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj and activist-journalist Gautam Navlakha -- were Maoist supporters.


IANS inputs

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