Police arrest five activists, including poet Varavara Rao in raids in five states

August 29, 2018 08:20 PM
Five activists arrested

The raids were conducted in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Telangana, Delhi, Haryana and Goa.

Mumbai/Panaji - The Pune Police on Tuesday raided the premises of rights activists in Maharashtra, Telangana, Delhi, Haryana and Goa and arrested activists Vernon Gonsalves in Mumbai, Arun Ferreira from Thane, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Haryana, and poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad for suspected Maoist links.

Sources said raids were conducted at the homes of Mr. Rao’s daughter in Hyderabad, Mr. Navlakha and Ms. Bhardwaj’s homes in Delhi and Haryana respectively, and professor Anand Teltumbde’s house in Goa.

HC stays transit remand of Sudha Bhardwaj

Punjab and Haryana High Court stays the transit remand of Sudha Bhardwaj. The court fixes August 30 as the next date of hearing.

Earlier, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faridabad, Ashok Kumar, granted the transit remand of Sudha Bhardwaj to Maharashtra Police.


In Mumbai, the homes of Arun Ferreira and Susan Abraham were raided. Sources said the raids began around 6 a.m. at Mr. Ferreira’s Thane residence and the Andheri homes of Mr. Gonsalves and Ms. Abraham. Mr. Ferreira was taken into custody from his home.

Mr. Gonsalves is a human rights lawyer and activist. Mr. Gonsalves and Mr. Ferreira were earlier accused of Naxalite connections, but were acquitted of related charges.

Ms. Abraham is a civil liberties lawyer and is part of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR).

The court rejected the transit remand of Gautam Navlakha, sought by the Delhi Police (Special Cell) SWAT team. Mr. Navlakha moved the Delhi High Court soon after the police obtained orders from the local court.

Earlier, the police seized laptop, mobile phones and disk drives from the residence of Mr. Navlakha.


In Jharkhand, Father Stan Swamy’s school-cum-residential premises was raided by the Jharkhand police.he remises is inside a military cantonment in Bagaicha area in Namkum, which is one of administrative blocks in Ranchi. Father Swamy runs a school for Adivasi children and a technical training institute. Locals said he has not been taken into custody.


Mr. Rao was arrested by the Pune police in Hyderabad, following raids on his flat in the city in a case relating to an alleged conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr. Rao was taken to the Nampally Court in the city.

Special teams of the Pune police, assisted by their local Telangana counterparts, also raided the flat of senior journalist K.V. Kurmanath and T. Kranthi, a photographer in Hyderabad. Mr. Kurmanath is Mr. Rao’s son-in-law. They both live in separate flats in Himasai apartment building in Ashoknagar.

s. Sudha Bharadwaj was produced before the court of Civil Judge Sakshi Saini in Faridabad. Justice Saini asked the Investigation Officer to translate the application for Transit Remand in Hindi.

JNU professor Jayati Ghosh, accompanying Ms. Bharadwaj, alleged that the Maharashtra police seized two laptops, two mobile phones and a pen drive from the house of Ms. Bharadwaj. She was forced to share her Gmail and other social media account passwords. A diary with several blank pages was also seized by the police, said Ms. Ghosh. Ms. Bharadwaj feared tampering of the gadgets and the diary to frame her.

Ms. Bharadwaj told the court that she was not connected to the present case in any manner, and that her name was also not there in the FIR. She said she was being targeted as the authorities thought that she espoused a particular ideology. She said that her laptops, mobile phones and a pen drive was seized, but she was not given the copy of the data. Her counsel sought transit bail from the court so that she could approach a proper forum in a Maharashtra court.


Sources close to Mr. Teltumbde confirmed a raid on his premises at the Goa Institute of Management (GIM), located in Sanquelim in North Goa. He is a senior professor there.

“He is out of Goa and his house was locked. He was informed by an official at the institute that police had arrived on the campus with sanction to raid his house,” said a source at the GIM, requesting anonymity.

Mr. Teltumbde specialises in “strategy, productions and operations, project management, and business analytics” at the GIM. He is also a Dalit scholar, writer and social commentator.

Superintendent of Police Karthik Kashyap, head of Crime Branch of the Goa police, when contacted, said their personnel were not involved in the raid nor was the Goa police informed about the raids.

CPI(M) demands activists' release

The CPI (M) Politburo released a statement on the arrests, saying, “Ever since the Bhima Koregoan violence against Dalits, the Maharashtra Police along with central agencies have been targeting Dalit rights activists and lawyers who have been taking up their cases. False charges have been levelled and the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act invoked.These constitute a brazen attack on democratic rights and civil liberties. The Polit Bureau demands the withdrawal of the cases against these activists and their immediate release.”

Activists, intellectuals condemn arrests

“We, the undersigned, are shocked by the serial raids across the country on the homes of activists and public intellectuals who are critical of the government and the ruling party at the Centre. The arrests of prominent activists and intellectuals Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Kranthi Tekula and others, are nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for justice for the marginalised,” read a statement from activists and public intellectuals.


Have something to say? Post your comment