Pune police team raided human rights activists in Mumbai, Ranchi, Faridabad, and Hyderabad on Tuesday morning. The police called these raids a part of an investigation into a public meeting that was organised few days before a caste-related violence took place in Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January 2018. The houses of prominent activists including Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bhardwaj, Stan Swamy, Varavara Rao, Kranti, and Naseem have been searched so far by the police. More raids are expected in other parts of the country.
One activist from Faridabad, Sudha Bharadwaj is detained after the raid at his house. He has also worked as a human rights lawyer in Chhattisgarh for many decades. He has been taken to the Surajkund police station in Faridabad, according to a lawyer who talked to Bharadwaj’s daughter.
Activists from Mumbai
Two activists from Mumbai are Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira whose houses have been raided early Tuesday morning. Arun Ferreira was also acquitted with Naxal charges in 2012. The Pune police is investigating the matter since June around activists working for Dalits, Adivasis, and political prisoners. Police believes that the activists’ speeches at the public meeting in Pune had triggered the violence in the city.
Earlier the suspicion was on the Hindutva groups, suspecting that the inflammatory speeches made by them could have instigated the violence. Later the state government announced that no evidence against Sambhaji Bhinde, leader of Shiv Prathishthan Hindustan was found.
Activist from Ranchi
Another activist from Ranchi Stan Swamy had a search warrant against him from Police Inspector Shivaji Pawar of Pune city’s Swargate division saying to have received confidential information about Swamy. They have also seized his laptop, hard drives, mobiles, notebooks and other technical equipments to prevent him from destroying informations.
Activists from Hyderabad
Three activists from Hyderabad include Varavara Rao, Kranti, and Naseem whose houses were raided today morning. The writer and activist Rao had a raid on his and his family members’ houses as well. The houses of Rao’s two daughters Anala and her journalist husband Kurmanath, and another daughter Pavana and her husband Professor K Satyanarayana were raided.