Gautam Navlakha Was In Touch With Hizbul, Separatists: Pune Police

A division bench, meanwhile, extended the protection from arrest granted to Gautam Navlakha till further orders.

2 min read
Navlakha is a Delhi-based journalist, author, civil liberties and human rights activist.

Activist Gautam Navlakha and the Naxal groups he was associated with were in touch with Hizbul Mujahideen and Kashmiri separatist leaders, Pune Police claimed before the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, 24 July.

A division bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre, meanwhile, extended protection from arrest granted to Navlakha till further orders.

Navlakha, along with a few other activists, is facing a case for alleged links with Naxals. He moved the court seeking quashing of the FIR against him.

Aruna Pai, the counsel for Pune police, said some of the documents recovered from the laptops of co-accused Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling showed that Navlakha and various Naxal groups he was associated with had conducted "bilateral talks" with Hizbul leaders.

"He (Navlakha) has been liaising with banned terrorist organisations including Hizbul Mujahideen since 2011," she claimed.

Pai further alleged that between 2011 and 2014, Navlakha was in touch with Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shakil Bakshi, reported PTI. 

Navlakha was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other offences. On 5 July, the high court had granted him interim protection from arrest till 23 July. On Wednesday, it was extended till further orders.

While Navlakha's lawyer Yug Chaudhary denied all the charges, Pai contended that protection from arrest was coming in the way of investigation.

The arguments would be continuing on Thursday, 25 July.

According to Pune Police, the speeches at Elgar Parishad conclave, held in Pune on 31 December 2017, led to violence between Marathas and Dalits near the Bhima Koregaon war memorial the next day, and that the Parishad was supported by Maoists.

Navlakha was arrested along with four other activists – Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao – in August 2018 over alleged involvement in the Elgar Parishad event.

In June 2018, five other activists – Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Sudhir Dhawale – had been arrested in connection with the same case.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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