The Maharashtra Police on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the five rights activists arrested in raids last month from across the country had links with Maoists. In its counter affidavit, the Maharashtra Police claimed that there were evidence which points towards their association with the banned CPI(Maoist).
The Maharashtra Police categorically told the top court that the activists were arrested for their Maoist links and not for expressing 'dissent'.
Bhima Koregaon violence: Pune court grants police 90 more days to file chargesheet against activists
"Dissent is the safety valve of democracy," the Supreme Court had told the cops on August 29 while rejecting their plea of remand of those arrested. The apex court had directed the police to keep them under house arrest till Thursday (September 6).
The police told the court that the arrested activists were planning to carry out violence in the country and ambush the security forces.
Historian Romila Thapar and others have challenged the arrest of these activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case in the Supreme Court.
The police also questioned the locus of the petitioners, Thapar and economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devika Jain, sociologist Satish Deshpande and legal expert Maja Daruwala, and said they were "strangers" to the investigation in the matter.
The Maharashtra Police had on August 28 raided the homes of the prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested at least five of them for suspected Maoist links, sparking a chorus of outraged protests from human rights defenders.
While prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Farreira from Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha was arrested from Delhi.
(With inputs from agencies)