Nine activists across the country had been raided by the Pune Police for alleged Maoist links; five of them were arrested, including Varavara Rao.
Hours after the extended house arrest came to an end, the Pune police Saturday arrested activist Varvara Rao from Hyderabad in connection with the Elgaar Parishad event case. The Telugu poet was taken into custody and will be presented before a Pune court.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Pune Police) Shivaji Bodakhe told PTI that an extension of his house arrest granted by the Hyderabad High Court expired on November 15.
On Friday, the Supreme Court had deferred the hearing in the arrests of activists, held in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case, to December 3. On October 29, the apex court had stayed the Bombay High Court order that put on hold a trial court decision granting more time to Maharashtra Police to complete the investigation against five accused.
In a chargesheet filed earlier this week, the Pune police claimed that the Elgaar Parishad, a one-day conference held in Pune on December 31 last year, was organised as per a plan by the banned CPI-Maoist, to mobilise Dalit groups and other organisations against the government. It further alleged that the “inciting speeches” at the event “provoked the masses and aggravated violence” in Bhima Koregaon the next day, January 1, when thousands of people had gathered there to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
Interviews to media, speeches at memorial lectures and criticism of the central government for granting permission to various MNCs in Chhattisgarh have been listed by Maharashtra police among the key evidence of the alleged involvement of poet and columnist P Varavara Rao in the Elgaar Parishad event.
Police have so far booked 22 people in this case including five rights activists and lawyers Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha who were arrested on August 28. These five were placed under house arrest for five weeks on the directions of the Supreme Court on September 28. Bharadwaj, Gonsalves and Ferreira were later arrested by police and are in judicial custody.