Hyderabad: Activists and academics staged a protest on Wednesday at Hyderabad’s Ambedkar statue demanding the release of activist Varavara Rao, who was arrested by the Pune police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence.
Following the protest, the Hyderabad police detained all the activists and professors and shifted them to Goshamahal Police Ground.
Speaking to ANI, Civil Liberties Committee state president Prof Laxman said, “This is an illegal arrest. We were staging a short protest that we were planning. They have not allowed us to protest for at least five minutes. After Varavara Rao’s arrest yesterday, in sympathy and solidarity to him, we staged this protest. I’m very disappointed with it.”
On Tuesday, raids were carried out by the Pune Police in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Faridabad, Delhi, and Thane, with informed sources telling ANI that Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Varnan Gonsalves and Sudha Bhardwaj were the five activists arrested in connection with the incident.
Another activist, Sandhya, said the arrest was an “undemocratic attitude.”
Shocked over her father’s arrest, Varavara Rao’s daughter Sujatha said “At around 6 am today, the police barged into our house, seized our phones and started their search which continued for two long hours. They confiscated all papers, hard discs and mobile phones. They also raided my two other sisters’ place. When we asked them if they have a warrant in this matter, they said a warrant is not needed if Rao is already involved in the case.”
The police yesterday booked all five activists 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.
In January this year, violence erupted in Koregaon Bhima village during the gathering to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle. A youth died and several others, including 10 policemen, were injured in the incident.