Arrest of Activists: Case False, Fight Against Facist Policies Not Conspiracy, Says Varavara Rao

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Revolutionary writer P Varavara Rao after a medical chek-up following his arrest by the Pune police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case, in Hyderabad on Tuesday. — PTI

The case for Koregaon-Bhima clashes between Dalits and upper caste Marathas should have been filed against the Maharashtra govt and the Centre and not activists, said Varavara Rao, who was arrested along with four other activists on Tuesday

HYDERABAD (PTI) — Dubbing the case against him and other activists over Maharashtra’s Koregaon-Bhima violence as false, Leftist poet and writer Varavara Rao insisted on Thursday their fight against “fascist policies” cannot be called a conspiracy.

He said the case for Koregaon-Bhima clashes between Dalits and upper caste Marathas should have been filed against the Maharashtra government and the Centre and not activists.

“This is a false case. If the fight against fascist policies is called a conspiracy, then there cannot be a bigger conspiracy than this (calling the fight a conspiracy),” Rao, who was brought here by Pune police in the morning following a Supreme Court order, told reporters at the airport.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday pulled up Maharashtra police over the arrest of five prominent human rights activists for their alleged Maoist links and ordered that they will not be lodged in jail but kept under house arrest till September 6.

“They (the Supreme Court) have ordered house arrest.

As we have been saying, this is a false case against us.

Bhima-Koregaon case should have been filed against the state and central governments,” he said.

According to Rao’s wife Hemalatha, he was flown here from Pune at 7 in the morning and barring his close relatives nobody was being allowed to meet him.

Rao’s counsel said Telangana police was not permitting even his lawyers to meet him.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Zone) Viswa Prasad said Hyderabad police was enforcing the apex court’s order of house arrest.

Prasad said since the poet-activist was under house arrest, he was not allowed to come out of confinement or make public appearances.

He said only his wife and children, if they are living with him in the same house, will be allowed in.

The city police has made elaborate security arrangements around Rao’s apartment building.

Apart from Rao, human rights activists Vernon Gonzalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha were arrested from different states on Tuesday for their alleged links to Naxalites.

In a blow to the Maharashtra police, the apex court had yesterday questioned its decision of arresting the activists nine months after the violence between Dalits and upper caste Marathas in Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune following ‘Elgar Parishad’, a conclave of Dalits, on December 31 last year.

Provocative speeches allegedly made at the conclave had triggered the violence which soon spread to several districts of Maharashtra, leaving a trail of destruction.

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