THE activists and lawyers arrested by Pune City Police over alleged Maoist links in June have not gone on a hunger strike inside Yerwada central Jail, Prison Department officials said on Friday. They said four of the five accused — Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale and Mahesh Raut — had observed a one-day fast to mark the death anniversary of freedom fighter Jatin Das.
Das died in Lahore Jail on September 13, 1929, after a hunger strike against the British rule that went on for over 60 days. The accused had their food on Friday, said prison authorities, adding that they had received no official communication either about the one-day fast or any demands they may have.
On Thursday, activists of Kabir Kala Manch in Pune and Republican Panthers in Mumbai circulated messages claiming the “political prisoners” have started a hunger strike in Yerwada prison.
The four accused, along with Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, who was arrested along with them on June 6, are facing charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. They were arrested based on a complaint filed over Elgaar Parisad, a one-day conference held on December 31 last year to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon.