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Urban Naxals Case: 'We Have Evidence', Says Maharashtra Government, Even As NHRC Issues Notice Over Detention Of Maoist Sympathisers

Written By Narayan R | Mumbai | Published:


  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has pulled up the Maharashtra government and sent it a notice┬áregarding the detention of five Maoist sympathisers
  • The Maharashtra government has, however, cited that it has evidence and is not taking action arbitrarily, as it has been accused of doing
  • On Tuesday, in a multi-city crackdown, the Pune police raided numerous Maoist sympathisers, taking five persons into custody. Three are to be produced in a Pune court, while the other two have had petitions filed against their detention in High Courts

Update at 5:00 pm- The Supreme Court has ruled that all the five accused shall be placed under house arrest till September 6, till the next hearing. Notice issued it to Maharashtra government and Police.

Update at 4:56 pm- Justice Chandrachud says, 'Dissent is the safety ball of democracy. If you don't allow it, democracy will burst.'

Update at 4:54 pm- State's main contention is that the Habeas Corpus in the Delhi High Court is pending. So no stay should be granted on the detention

Update at 4:51 pm- Dr Singhvi calls it the end of liberty. Dushyant Dave, also arguing for the detained persons, says, 'We are all not safe if this will happen'.

Rajeev Dhawan says, '5 random arrests of people we know. One is in a body I have been working in. If she gets arrested, I'm next'

Indira Jaisingh says, 'One is my junior'.

Update at 4:47 pm- Dr Singhvi: Don't create a chilling effect. Just because I disagree with you, how can you do this massive sweep?

'These five people aren't named in the FIR. They were not present at Bhima Koregaon in 2017.'

Judge asks for the High Court's order, to which Vrinda Grover says, 'Chandigarh High Court was only for transit order. We are here for a fundamental rights violation.'

Judges discuss.

Update at 4:41 pm- Dr Singhvi: 'These people weren't present in the meeting and aren't named in the FIR. There were sudden raids.'

'There is no non-cooperation by them. One is a US citizen. How can you arrest them?'

Update at 4:40 pm- Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi arguing on behalf of the petitioners argues that it is a very serious issue

'Persons arrested are IIT professors to lawyers in a nation-wide arrest'

'This is about the Bhima Koregaon incident. FIR doesn't mention these five people'

Update at 4:39 pm- Supreme Court hearing begins.  

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has pulled up the Maharashtra government and sent it a notice regarding the detention of five Maoist sympathisers by the Pune Police following day-long multi-city raids on Tuesday, even as the Pune Police and Maharashtra government have been stern in justifying the action.

In its notice, the NHRC makes the following points:

  • The NHRC has taken suo moto cognisance of five activists being detained. It has named all the five, viz. Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao.
  • Basing its analysis on media reports, the NHRC observed that the standard operating procedure wasn't followed in the arrests, and may amount to a violation of their human rights
  • It has called for a factual report in the matter within four weeks.
  • It cites that a similar notice had been issued in June when five persons were arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence. The Maharashtra police is yet to submit the report that had been sought

Here is the press release of the NHRC's notice: 


Earlier, 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.

READ: EXCLUSIVE | 3 Part Expose On Urban Naxals Points At A Larger Conspiracy. All Details Here

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.

Amnesty India also criticised the multi-city crackdown on the activists, lashing out at the government, accusing it of taking away the people's freedom of expression. "The government should protect people's right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly instead of creating an atmosphere of fear", the NGO said in its statement. 


However, despite the criticism, sources in the Pune Police have told Republic TV that they have enough evidence against the activists. Top police sources stated, "Let them (those opposing the detentions) say whatever they want to say. We have no problem with it. We arrested these accused after we got concrete evidence against them. They were involved in Naxal activities. We will put our points before court."

READ: Urban Naxals Case: MoS Home Kiren Rijiju Counters Rahul Gandhi On Maoists, Even As Various Courts Loom For The Accused. Full Details Here

Meanwhile, Republic TV has learnt that there had been two communications between the Maharashtra government and the government of India, both between the state's Chief Secretary and the Union Home Secretary, even before the raids were conducted. The raids were conducted based on Intelligence Bureau (IB) inputs which were shared with the Union Home Ministry as well. It was only after this that the Maharashtra government gave a go-ahead to the police to conduct the raids.