Ramachandra Guha, Arundhati Roy Slam BJP Over Activists’ Arrests
Outraged over multi-city raids by Maharashtra police on homes of several prominent activists and subsequent arrests, historian Ramchandra Guha and author Arundhati Roy hit out at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in the Centre.
The police arrested poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and Chhattisgarh and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in Delhi.
The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalit and the upper caste groups at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad on 31 December 2017.
Absolutely Chilling, Says Ramchandra Guha
Historian Ramachandra Guha called the action "absolutely chilling" and demanded the Supreme Court's intervention to stop this "persecution and harassment" of independent voices.
Arrests Show Where India Is Headed, Arundhati Roy
Author Arundhati Roy said that the arrests were an “attempted coup against the Indian Constitution and all the freedoms that we cherish.” She added that they also showed us “where India is headed.”
The simultaneous state-wide arrests are a dangerous sign of a government that fears it is losing its mandate and is falling into panic. That lawyers, poets, writers, Dalit rights activists and intellectuals are being arrested on ludicrous charges while those who make up lynch mobs and threaten and murder people in broad daylight roam free, tells us very clearly where India is headed. Murderers are being honoured and protected.Arundhati Roy
Roy alleged that “murderers are being honoured and protected” and anybody who speaks up for justice or against Hindu majoritarianism is being made into a criminal.
Anybody who speaks up for justice or against Hindu majoritarianism is being made into a criminal. What is happening is absolutely perilous. In the run up to elections, this is an attempted coup against the Indian Constitution and all the freedoms that we cherish.Arundhati Roy
A police official said all the five, who were arrested, are suspected to have Maoist links and had allegedly funded the Elgar Parishad conclave. Security officials in Delhi said two letters, purportedly exchanged by Maoist leaders indicating plans to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, led to the police action.
(With PTI inputs.)