Mumbai: Prakash Ambedkar, senior Dalit leader and grandson of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, on Wednesday said that the arrests of Left-wing activists and lawyers are nothing more than attempts to divert attention from Sanatan Sanstha and its illegal activities.
“The Karnataka government has been exerting pressure for some time now on the Maharahstra government to take action on the basis of the evidence they have collected on the Sanstha and its activities during the course of the investigation. They found that the Sanstha was preparing bombs for use in several places in Mumbai itself, and of these many were Hindu and not minority occupied areas. Admission of this for the Fadnavis government would amount to declaring the Sanstha as an anti-Hindu party that the BJP is clealry not willing to do", Ambedkar told The Citizen.
"So they rounded up all the ultra-Left intellectuals to divert attention from the Sanstha and support their own conspiracy theory that there is a threat to the country from the extreme Left intellectuals who have been supporting violence as per their claims,” he added.
CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat seconded this as well, maintaining that the effort was to cover up the activities of right wing Hindutva outfits, in this case the Sanstha. He said that normally, given the kind of disclosures coming out from the investigation by Karnataka into the murders, the government would have to move to ban the Sanatan Sanstha.
“There are provisions in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to ban such an organisation but now they are using the same Act to target the intellectuals, insisting they have links with the Maoists and raiding and arresting them,” Karat said.
Maharashtra Police had on Tuesday raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested at least five of them for suspected Maoist links, sparking a chorus of outraged protests from human rights defenders.
Among those arrested were lawyer and trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj, poet P Varavara Rao, activist Gautam Navlakha, and lawyers Arun Pereira and Vernon Gonsalves. They have been charged with criminal conspiracy, creating fear and enmity between various groups, and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
While 03 of the 05 arrested will be produced in a Pune court today, Sudha Bhardwaj was kept under house arrest after High Court order.
Taking the same line as that of Prakash Ambedkar and Karat, journalist Nitin Wagle wrote on Twitter, "I am surprised by two parallel streams. When action against Sanatan/Hindu Jagruti terrorists gets momentum, police action against Bhima Koregaon activists is suddenly pushed ahead. What does that mean?"
Condemning the arrests of the activists, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai wrote on Twitter, "In the ‘new’ India human rights activists will be arrested but no one wants to touch groups like Sanathan Sanstha! And the country stays silent!"
The Maharashtra ATS had in the last few weeks have arrested a number of Hindu terrorists from different parts of Maharshtra, also seizing from their possession explosives, arms, and live bombs and cartridges.
According to the ploice, the raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Peshwas at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year.
Koregaon-Bhima occupies a central place in Dalit history -- it witnessed a major battle in which the Peshwa rulers were defeated on January 1, 1818 by the British army, comprising a large number of Dalit soldiers. Every year, the anniversary of the battle is marked by thousands of Dalits assembling in Pune and marching to Koregaon-Bhima to a war memorial.
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