The Arrests of five Activists have stormed the political domain of Delhi. Five activists namely Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and P Varvara Rao have been arrested under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for alleged Maoist links.
Already a group of petitioners has requested the Supreme Court of India to scrutinize and investigate the alleged false charges against the human rights activists. The petitioners including Romila Thapar, Devki Jain, Prabhat Patnaik, Satish Deshpande and Maya Daruwala have sought an immediate stay on the arrests as well as the release of the activists.
They have also categorically urged to Supreme Court to seek an explanation from the Maharashtra government. The Chief Justice of India will hear the petition today which was mentioned by Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Incidentally, the link of the arrests gets back to the Bhima-Koregaon violence earlier this year. All the five activists arrested are either lawyer or poet or journalist and the common link is, all of them are critical of the existing political establishment.
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Pune Police claimed that arrests were in connection with the Elgar Parishad, a public meeting held in Pune on 31st December 2017. Now the question whether this is an attempt on part of the government to silence the critics or not.
It is not yet clear what sort of evidence the Pune Police has or whether there was truly a plan to kill the head of the state. But as of now, the incident of five arrests has created a political uproar and opposition parties are of the opinion that India isn’t far from announcing an emergency.
There is no denying the fact that the Bhima-Koregaon unrest was an ulcer to the government and a destabilizing one. For example, among the arrested, Sudha Bharadwaj advocates for the rights of Dalits, farmers, laborers and tribals. Arun Ferreira has also faced sedition charges previously.
The NDA government knows it absolutely well that opposition from the activists and farmers and Dalits can be extremely detrimental to the interests of the saffron outfit in upcoming Lok Sabha Elections scheduled next year. Thus in all probability, until and unless the Pune police furnish further details, the NDA government will face strong criticism for arresting the activists.