SC orders house arrest for activists

New Delhi: In a huge relief, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that the five human rights activists arrested across the country in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon incident in Maharashtra should be kept under house arrest.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra ordered house arrest on a petition by eminent historian Romila Thapar and four others challenging the Tuesday arrests.

Taking a dim view of the crackdown, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “Dissent is a safety valve of democracy. If it is not allowed, the pressure cooker will burst.”

He noted that the arrests had taken place nine months after the violence in Maharashtra.

Talking to reporters later, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the Supreme Court had issued notices to the central and Maharashtra governments.

Those arrested on Tuesday included Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Haryana and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonzalves in Maharashtra.