The Maharashtra Police told the Supreme Court Wednesday that the arrest of five activists in connection with the Elgaar Parishad investigation was based on “cogent evidence” linking them with banned CPI (Maoists).
The state police, in its response to the plea filed by historian Romila Thapar and four others, accused the activists of planning to carry out violence, planned ambush against country and security forces.
“Activists not arrested because of their dissenting opinion, there is sufficient material to dispel this impression,” the Maharashtra Police told the apex court.
Challenging the locus of Thapar and others for filing the plea, the state police in its counter-affidavit termed them unrelated to the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.
Earlier the Supreme Court had directed that the five activists would be kept in house arrest till September 6 observing that dissent was the “safety valve” of democracy. It had also not considered the opposition of Maharashtra government questioning the locus of the petitioners.
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The court will hear the matter on September 6.
On August 28, the Maharashtra Police had conducted a raid on the houses of prominent activists in several states and had arrested activists Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bhardwaj and Gautam Navalakha while investigating the alleged Maoist connection with the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31 last year.
The plea filed by Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpandey and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala has sought an independent probe into the arrests of the activists and their immediate release.