ACTIVIST Tushar Bhattacharya, 62, was arrested on Monday by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Surat in Gujarat for “seditious activities” (section 124 of the IPC). Sources from the ATS said, “He was arrested in Raipur while he was travelling back to Nagpur from Kolkata in connection with a case of 2010.”
Bhattacharya’s wife and fellow activist Shoma Sen said, “He had gone to meet his sister in Kolkata and was returning. I was trying his phone since 6 am but it was not reachable. So, we went to receive him at the railway station but he wasn’t there. Later, he called up to say that he was at Nagpur airport under arrest from Surat police and was being taken to Gujarat.”
Sen said, “He was also arrested earlier in Telangana under charges of propagating Maoist activities and was jailed for six years from 2007 to 2013 under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). But he was acquitted in all the cases and had since then been staying at Nagpur doing some writing work and social activism. During this period one more case was foisted on him and others in 2010 at Surat. The arrest was made in this case.”
ATS sources said, “He was wanted among 20 others in the case. He was absconding.” However, Bhattacharya is known to have been in Nagpur for the past three years, creating doubts about the allegations made by the ATS of him being on the run.