Arrest of Left-wing activists based on proof of their ‘Naxal links’: Maharashtra government

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Three of the five Left-wing activists, who were arrested yesterday by Maharashtra Police in connection with its ongoing probe into suspected Maoist links to an event held in Pune, was brought to the city late last night, the police said. A senior Pune police officer said that prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao, and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira are likely to be produced in a court later in the day. Near-simultaneous searches were carried out yesterday at the residences of Rao in Hyderabad, Gonzalves and Farreira in Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in New Delhi, a senior police official had said. Subsequently, Rao, Bhardwaj, Farreira, Gonzalves and Navalakha were arrested under IPC Section 153 (A), which relates to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place or birth, residence, language and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, said the official. Some other sections of the IPC were also pressed against those arrested, along with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged Naxal activities, said the police official, without elaborating. Five people allegedly having close Maoist links were arrested in June from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi in connection with Elgar Parishad event held on December 31 last year which had later triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district. Provocative speeches were made at the Elgar Parishad event which triggered the violence at Koregaon-Bhima, according to an FIR registered at the Vishrambaug police station here after the event.