Skip to main content

Five Maharashtra Dalit rights leaders arrested: "Draconian" UAPA law invoked for Jan 1 Pune violence

Celebration on the 200th anniversary of Bhima-Koregaon victory
By Our Representative
In a surprise move, the Pune Police on Wednesday early morning, around 6.00 am, arrested several activists, imposing on them sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which ensure long detention with added difficulties in obtaining bail. The arrests took place, purportedly, in response to the FIR registered on January 8, 2018 at Vishram Baug Police Station, Pune, with regard to the holding of the Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017 by the Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan.
Reacting on the development, well-known Dalit rights leader Dr Anand Teltumbde, general secretary, Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), said, the FIR was “originally registered “under sections 153(A), 505 (1)(b), 117 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)”, but was turned into a “conspiracy case in March 2018”, with UAPA sections being added to it now.
Calling it a “draconian” move, Teltumbde said, “These arrests are in the face of the mass demand of several political parties and human rights organizations and activists and the Prerna Abhiyan, in particular, to arrest the leaders of Sangh Parivar organizations, Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, who were responsible for the violence on January 1, 2018 at Bhima-Koregaon.”
He added, “The Phadnavis government, which has been protecting these actual perpetrators of the violence, has been attempting to create a false narrative that the violence at Bhima Koregaon was caused by the Elgar Parishad and that banned Maoist organizations are behind the Prerna Abhiyan.”
Those arrested in the early morning swoop are advocate Surendra Gadling, who happens to be general secretary of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers from Nagpur; Prof Shoma Sen, head of department, English, Nagpur University; Sudhir Dhawale, editor, “Vidrohi”, Mumbai; Rona Wilson, public relations secretary, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners; and Mahesh Raut, anti-displacement activist from the Bharat Jan Andolan and former fellow at the Prime Minister’s Rural Development (PMRD) for Gadchiroli district.
Arrested activists
The Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan is a coalition of around 260 mass organizations under the Chairmanship of Retired Supreme Court Justice PB Sawant and includes prominent political figures like Prakash Ambedkar, leader of the Bahujan Republican Party and Justice Kolse-Patil (retired).
In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon that “vanquished” the Peshwa rule, the Abhiyan organized a mass meeting on December 31, 2017 at the historic Shaniwar Wada in Pune, with several prominent speakers like retired High Court Justice Kolse Patil, Prakash Ambedkar, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and others.
Dr Teltumbde said, “The Elgar Parishad was organised with the stated objective of fighting the Nav-peshwahi. The programme was hugely successful and attended by thousands from across the state. However on the following day, those commemorating the event at Bhima-Koregaon were attacked by a mob carrying saffron flags and instigated by Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, two right wing activists who are closely connected with the ruling BJP and this attack was part of a pre-meditated plan.”
According to him, “The entire operation has been stage-managed by the Maharashtra government keeping in mind the judicial enquiry headed by Justice JN Patel (Retd) in order to ensure that submissions from the victims of the Hindutva and State violence are suppressed. It has also been done to queer the pitch for the forthcoming elections in the State as well as 2019.”
He added, “The BJP government is desperate to create a reign of terror in order to polarize the Dalit and Bahujan votes. And also to create a terror narrative thereby protecting the real terror culprits Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote who will ensure votes for the BJP.”
Meanwhile, well-known Gujarat’s Dalit rights leader and MLA Jignesh Mevani, has termed the arrest as an “attack on Ambedkarite movement”, tweeting, the “Maharashtra police has arrested Ambedkarite activist and editor Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai, advocate Surendra Gadling in Nagpur and Rona Wilson in Delhi. under draconian UAPA, while Bhima Koregaon culprit Manohar Bhide roam scot free.”

Comments

TRENDING

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.