Varavara Rao, one of the activists who has been put under the house arrest in Hyderabad for having alleged links with Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist)] in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence, said on Thursday that the police has framed him in this case on the basis of false statements.
"I am saying it from the beginning, that on basis of false statements, a case was filed against me. I have faith in the law," he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Rao's son-in-law said the investigation process was a "traumatic and humiliating experience” as the policemen asked her family members “infuriating and silly questions”.
He further added, “They asked me, why are there so many books in your house? Do you read all of them? Why purchase so many books? Why do you read so many books? Why are you reading books on Mao and Marx? Why do you have books published in China? Why do you have songs of Gaddar? Why are there photos of Phule and Ambedkar in your house, but no photos of gods?’’
When The Indian Express sought his comments on the questions asked by policemen in the search team, Pune Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bodkhe said: “These are completely false allegations. No such questions were asked. The raids were conducted as per procedure.”
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the Pune police to keep the five accused activists --Rao, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bhardwaj--under house arrest till September 5. These activists are under police scanner for having links with Maoists and also being allegedly involved in triggering violence at Elgaar Parishad, an event to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, in Pune that took place in January this year.
Speaking to ANI, Rao's lawyer Mihir Desai, said that these latest orders of house arrest for the arrested activists clearly show that the judicature is perturbed by the sudden act of authorities to imprison them.
An outrage grew over the detention of these activists after scores of leaders from various political outfits of the country said that it is an attempt to stifle dissent. Janata Dal (United) leader Pavan K Varma on Wednesday told ANI that if the Narendra Modi-led government failed to produce any evidence against the imprisoned activists then the current scenario will exude a reflection of Emergency.
Senior Congress leader, Salman Khurshid, also towed the same line and said that 'an atmosphere of imposing restrictions on dissent is growing in India'. He also added that the many people who are raising their voices against the Centre are being suppressed.
(With agency inputs)