Dalit activists arrest: Supreme Court to hold urgent hearing today

INDIA-POLITICS-RIGHTS-CRIME Indian activist Arun Ferreira (R) is arrested by policemen from his residence in Mumbai's neighbouring Thane district on August 28 | AFP

The police arrested five activists in simultaneous raids on August 28. These activists arrested from Mumbai, Thane, Hyderabad, Ranchi, Delhi and Faridabad were said to have links to Maoists.

Historian Romila Thapar and four activists today moved the Supreme Court against the arrest of five rights activists by the Maharashtra Police for suspected Maoist links. The petition against the arrest of the activists was mentioned before a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra which agreed to give an urgent hearing today itself at 3:45 PM.

In the petition, which was mentioned by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the historian and other right activists have sought release of all activists who have been arrested during raids in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case. They have also sought an independent probe into the arrests.

Ealgar Parishad was a public meeting held a day before the Bhima-Koregaon incident on December 31, 2017. The Ealgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the contribution of Dalits in the battle of Koregaon Bhima fought on January 1, 1818 between the British and the Peshwa troops.

The arrested include human rights activist lawyer Vernon Gonsalves, human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, civil rights activist and revolutionary writer P Varavara Rao, human rights activist-lawyer Arun Ferreira and activist-lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj. Among the arrested, Varavara Rao had links to the maoist group, who had plans to assasinate PM Modi.

Author Arundhati Roy said, "In the run-up to elections, it is an attempted coup against the Indian Constitution and all the freedoms that we cherish".

HC to hear Navlakha's plea at 2:15 pm

The Delhi High Court today said it will hear at 2:15 pm the plea of rights activists Gautam Navlakha, arrested for alleged unlawful activities, after the Maharashtra Police submitted that translated documents of the case were not ready.

The court had yesterday directed that Navlakha should not be taken away from Delhi till it hears the matter as specific allegations against him were unclear as the documents were in Marathi. A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel was informed by Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for Maharashtra Police, that the documents to be translated from Marathi to English will be provided to Navlakha's counsel positively by 12 pm.

Advocate Nithya Ramakrishnan, appearing for Navlakha, said the matter could be heard tomorrow.

The court, however, said it will hear the matter at 2:15 pm. It had said that for the time being Navlakha will be confined to his residence here under the guard of Delhi Police officers and he will be allowed to only meet or speak to his lawyers.

Navlakha was arrested yesterday following several raids after which his transit remand was secured from Saket district court to take him to Pune. This order, however, was stayed by the high court.

Several penal provisions under the IPC, including promoting enmity between classes, as well as provisions of terrorist acts, conspiracy and being part of a terror group under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been invoked against Navlakha.

With inputs from PTI