June 7, 2018 5:34:23 am
A GROUP of activists and lawyers has denounced the arrest of activists Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale and activist-lawyers Surendra Gadling and Rona Wilson in connection with Koregaon Bhima Elgar Parishad. Addressing a press conference here, the activists said, “The fascist RSS governments at the Centre and the state have targeted the activists deliberately to protect the real culprits in the violence following Elgar Parishad namely Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide.”
The activists further said, “The government was looking for an alibi to protect Ekbote and Bhide and has hence made the above mentioned five activists the scapegoats in the name of Naxal link to the Parishad. If they had this prior knowledge (of Naxal link), why did the allow the Parishad in the first place? The government is working at the behest of RSS and has hence targeted people who have all their life fought for the rights of the poor and the marginalised.”
They claimed that Sen and Gadling were not present in the Parishad. “So how come they were linked to it in the name of Naxal or Maoist activity,” they asked. About the allegation of funds being provided by CPI (Maoist) and the trail being traced to Raut and Sen, the activists said, “We have receipts of the funds that we have collected for the Parishad and through crowdfunding. The allegation is totally false.”
The activists said that they will organise protests against the arrests and will also knock at the doors of the court to secure justice. Asked about the activists espousing Maoist ideology, the activists said, “Espousing any ideology isn’t a crime. They wee not wielding the gun to kill anyone. It can’t be held against them if they were fighting on behalf of tribals. Even Gadling fighting cases for alleged Naxals as per provisions of law can’t be dubbed a Naxal himself.”
The group included Sandip Nandeshwar, Ratinath Mishra, Akshay Samarth, Dinanath Waghmare, Wahid Shekh, SP Tekade, Jagdis Meshram, Vikrant Narnaware, Anil Kale and NA Vaidhya.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines