Advertisement
Sunday, Sep 26, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

'Urban Naxals': SC To Resume Hearing On Arrest Of Five Activists

In its earlier hearing on the case, the SC had said: “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy... the pressure cooker will burst if you don’t allow the safety valves."

'Urban Naxals': SC To Resume Hearing On Arrest Of Five Activists
| File Photo
'Urban Naxals': SC To Resume Hearing On Arrest Of Five Activists
outlookindia.com
2018-09-06T10:22:16+05:30

The Supreme Court on Thursday will resume hearing on the petition filed by historian Romila Thapar and others against the arrests of five activists in connection with alleged Maoist links.

The activists, who were picked up by Pune police from different locations for their alleged Maoists links, are currently under house arrest as directed by the top court during its last hearing on August 29. It includes Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Haryana and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonzalves in Maharashtra.

In its earlier hearing on the case, the SC had said: “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy... the pressure cooker will burst if you don’t allow the safety valves."

The Maharashtra Police on Wednesday had told the Supreme Court that five rights activists, who have been kept under house arrest, belong to banned terrorist outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist) and are engaged in planning and execution of large-scale violence, having the potential of destabilizing the society.

The police has sought to dispel the perception that five rights activists were arrested for expressing any dissenting views or holding differing political and ideological positions.

Seeking the vacation of the August 29 order by which five activists were put under house arrest and seeking their custodial interrogation, the state police urged the court to permit it to take them in its (police) custody and interrogate them in accordance with the law.

Police have contended that the house arrest merely restricts the physical movement of the accused but he can always ensure not only destruction of evidence elsewhere, but can alert other potential accused while sitting in his home.

Referring to the "incriminating" material it had collected in the course of its investigation, the police in its affidavit filed on Wednesday said that five accused were also "clearly found to be a part of the criminal conspiracy and their role was not merely peripheral but they were found to be playing a very vital role in the criminal offences committed and/or planned by others".

Asserting that the material it has found from the "computers/laptops/pen drives/memory cards" belonging to the five accused was "shocking" as it clearly implicated them not only as active members of CPI (Maoist) but pointed to a "sinister design" of having committed and in the process of committing criminal offences having the "potential of destabilizing the society".

"The contents also clearly reflect the preparation, planning and coordination not only amongst the aforesaid persons but with others (subsequently arrested) to carry out violence, planned ambush/rebellion against the "enemy" (which is our country and its security forces)", the state police said in its affidavit.

The police have said this in response to the notice issued by the top court after it had on August 29 ordered that they be kept under house arrest.

Alleging that serious criminal offences are made out and incriminating material has emerged against them in the course of the investigation since January 8, 2018, when the FIR was registered, the police said that the petition by historian Romila Thapar and others under Article 32 was not maintainable.

The police contended that it was only the accused persons who could initiate proceedings before the competent courts including the constitutional courts.

Addressing the concern of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that the "dissent is a safety valve of democracy, if it is not allowed the pressure cooker will burst", the police in its affidavit said that five people were not arrested "based upon any dissenting views expressed by them or difference in their political or other ideologies".

Asserting that the state government is committed to the protection of fundamental rights of every citizen, the affidavit says, "A mere dissenting view, difference in ideology or vehement objections to the political thinking cannot be prohibited and should always be welcomed in any democratic country."

It said that if a citizen vociferously and vehemently expresses his dissent with the programmes, policies and working of the government, that "cannot be and should not be a ground to curtail personal liberty of such a person".

Describing dissent as a safety valve, the Supreme Court had on August 29 ordered that the five human rights activists arrested by the Pune Police should be kept under house arrest until the next date of hearing on September 6.

Justice Chandrachud noted that the arrests had taken place nine months after the activists were linked to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Maharashtra.

(With inputs from IANS)

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

7 New Faces Likely In Punjab Cabinet; 5 Amarinder Singh Loyalists May Face Axe

7 New Faces Likely In Punjab Cabinet; 5 Amarinder Singh Loyalists May Face Axe

The new Punjab cabinet comprising 15 ministers will take oath on Sunday, the state’s Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi announced after having deliberations with the party high command.

Quad Not A Military Alliance, But Will Challenge China's Outreach In Indo-Pacific

Quad Not A Military Alliance, But Will Challenge China's Outreach In Indo-Pacific

Quad is to checkmate China’s growing profile as a nation giving humanitarian aid to nations across Asia and Pacific, and it wants to challenge China’s soft power bid in the region.

IPL 2021: Holder Heroics Not Enough For Sunrisers Hyderabad

IPL 2021: Holder Heroics Not Enough For Sunrisers Hyderabad

Holder took three wickets then scored an unbeaten 47 but still ended up on the losing side.

Police Reforms In India Are Long Overdue But No Government Has Made It A Priority

Police Reforms In India Are Long Overdue But No Government Has Made It A Priority

Several commissions were appointed from time to time at the state and central levels for reforms in the police, but their core recommendations were never accepted.

Advertisement