Only one of seven alleged “front” organisations named by Maharashtra police in its probe into the Bhima-Koregaon violence this January has ever been classified as “unlawful”.
Barring the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) which, official sources said, was declared “unlawful” by Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha under respective state public safety laws, none of the remaining six — Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Republican Panthers and Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan — was ever banned.
Of the ten activists arrested since June, Pune police said eight were linked to these seven organisations — P Varavara Rao (RDF), Sudha Bharadwaj and Surendra Gadling (Indian Association of People’s Lawyers), Gautam Navlakha (People’s Union for Democratic Rights), Rona Wilson (Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners), Sudhir Dhawale (Republican Panthers), Shoma Sen (Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights), and Mahesh Raut (Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan).
Official sources said the remaining two, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, were said to have been formerly associated with the Maharashtra State Committee of the CPI (Maoist) which was banned in 2009.
The RDF was first banned by Odisha government in 2005. In 2012, Andhra Pradesh followed. And last month, the Telangana government issued a notification describing RDF a front organisation of the CPI (Maoist) and declared it an unlawful association.
The RDF is among 128 front organisations listed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist). In December 2012, the MHA asked states to take action against people involved with these organisations.