Synchronised pan-India raids at the residences of 'Maoist sympathisers' were conducted on Tuesday in connection with an alleged meeting that was organised days before the caste-related violence that broke out at Bhima-Koregaon near Pune in January this year. Following the crackdown, NGO Amnesty India, the India offshoot of Amnesty International, took to Twitter and issued a statement against the crackdown.
"The government should protect people's right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly instead of creating an atmosphere of fear", Amnesty India said, making its stand clear.
Within a minute, the NGO posted another tweet in relation to the detention of Sudha Bharadwaj and Vernon Gonsalves:
The Pune police on Tuesday conducted a raid at the Hyderabad residence of Varavara Rao, following which he was detained. Meanwhile, activist Gautam Navlakha was also detained following a raid at his residence in New Delhi, while Sudha Bharadwaj was detained at Badarpur, and Vernon Gonzalvez and Arun Ferreira were detained in Mumbai.
Earlier, the Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Pune confirmed that simultaneous searches were being conducted at several locations across Hyderabad, Delhi, Haryana, Mumbai, and Ranchi in connection with the Elgar Parishad.
The raids are allegedly the result of information ascertained by the Pune Police from the June arrests of five people in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence. Following the arrest, a letter was allegedly accessed from the computer of Rona Wilson where a devious plot to assassinate the Prime Minister was also laid out.