LIVE: Hearing against arrests of activists in Bhima Koregaon raids begins

"Government is conveniently ambiguous, wants to divert attention from Sanatan Sanstha", said former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

LIVE: Hearing against arrests of activists in Bhima Koregaon raids begins
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Indian poet and activist Varara Rao (C) enters a police vehicle after being arrested in Hyderabad on August 28, 2018. Indian police arrested prominent lawyers and left-wing activists on August 28 for alleged links to Maoist rebels, drawing a rebuke from rights watchdogs who labelled the raids a "massive crackdown" on government critics. / AFP PHOTO / -

New Delhi: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court has begun hearing the matter pertaining to the arrest of Dalit rights activists and lawyers in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

The petition was mentioned on Wednesday morning by a host of lawyers including Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Dushyant Dave, Indira Jaising, Raju Ramachandran and Amarendra Sharan, along with senior advocates Prashant Bhushan and Vrinda Grover before Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra at 10.30 am.

The Supreme Court has also given interim relief to the activists and directs to keep the five accused under house arrest till September 5.

Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the petitioners in the Supreme Court argued that the FIR does not mention any of these five activists.

“The larger issue is the chilling effect merely because one does not agree with you (government),” argued Advocate Singhvi, as quoted by Bar and Bench.

The Bahujan Samaj Party released a statement on Wednesday condemning the arrests of the ‘activists’ accused of being Maoist sympathizers, calling the case an “utmost exploitation of power by BJP.” The statement read, “Arrests of activists who fight in court against the oppression of Dalits, Tribals and backward communities in the nation, to spread terror and fear of the govt, is autocracy and utmost exploitation of power by BJP.”

According to Bar & Bench, Justice Muralidhar

Delhi HC notes that the documents placed before the CMM at the time of transit remand application were in Marathi. How was the order passed when the documents were in a language that the court does not understand, asks Muralidhar J.

Delhi HC hearing the matter pertaining to Gautam Navlakha’s transit remand said that except for the remand papers, nothing else translated from Marathi.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan questioned the arrests of prominent people and said that the state should clarify the reason behind the arrests.

“Are they for Bhima Koregaon violence or Elgar Parishad or death threat to PM or Naxal activities? Government is conveniently ambiguous, wants to divert attention from Sanatan Sanstha”, Chavan said adding that the arrests are an effort to muzzle voices of dissent.

4,700 prominent citizens have signed a joint statement for the release of activists: Shehla Rashid.

Activists, including Telugu poet Varavara Rao, Arun Pereira and Varnan Gonsalves were brought before a local court.

On Tuesday, the Pune Police carried out near-simultaneous raids in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Faridabad, Delhi, and Thane, with informed sources telling ANI that Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Gonsalves and Sudha Bhardwaj were the five activists arrested in connection with the violence which broke out in January.

The police have booked all the accused under Sections 153 A, 505(1) B,117,120 B,13,16,18,20,38,39,40 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The arrests have drawn flak from rights activists, academicians, and the Opposition.

The Bhima Koregaon violence erupted across Maharashtra while observing the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in January. A youth died and several others, including 10 policemen, were injured in the violence.