In a shocking development to Urban Naxals Case, the police sources have informed Republic TV that those arrested in the multi-city crackdown were in touch with seniors comrades and opposition leaders and often exchanged phone calls with them. The information surfaced when their call details were retrieved. It was also revealed that leaders used proxy mobile numbers for confidentiality as certain calls were made for a longer duration. According to sources, several meetings between top comrades of urban leadership and opposition leaders were also held in Mumbai and Delhi subsequently in December 2017 and January 2018 for financial help against the Government in power.
Earlier, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram condemned the arrests of five activists. Hitting out at the Congress leader, MoS Hansraj Ahir said:
"It is unfortunate that Chidambaram is backing them. He was the senior most leader in previous two government. This sort of statement demoralises police".
Earlier on Saturday, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram while addressing the press in Nagpur, asserted that there is no such thing as “Urban Naxalism”. Recently, Pune police arrested several activists, including P Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves for their suspected Maoist links on Tuesday. Talking in reference to the same, former Finance Minister said:
“They are Left-wing intellectuals. They are working with tribals and the downtrodden. They are being intimidated by the government because they are perceived as strong opponents of the Right-wing. The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the arrests and disallowed police custody. In the three days since they were arrested, not a shred of evidence has been put forth. These are strong-arm tactics to muzzle freedom of expression and kill any ideological opposition. The arrests were made to instil fear in those speaking against the BJP government.”
Earlier in August, the Pune police, aided by different task-forces, raided the houses of several persons, allegedly in connection with a meeting organised days before the caste-related violence that had erupted at Bhima Koregaon near Pune and spread to Mumbai, at the start of the year, and also, in connection with two letters, from 2016 and 2017, that detail a plot to assassinate PM Modi, as well as Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP party president Amit Shah. Following the raids, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were detained by the police. Transit remand was issued for them and they were taken to Pune where they are to be produced before a court on Wednesday. Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bharadwaj, meanwhile, have been put under house arrest and habeas corpus petitions against their detentions are to be heard in the Delhi High Court and Chandigarh High Court respectively.
Soon after the activists were detained, a huge political controversy erupted, with the CPI(M), Congress and RJD attacking the Modi government, even as prominent activists and lawyers issued statements against the crackdown.
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