Bhima Koregaon raids: Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira brought in Pune court

Pune (Maha): Telugu poet Varavara Rao and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, arrested in connection with a probe into suspected Maoist links to an event held in Pune, were brought before a local court today. The three Left-wing activists were arrested yesterday by the Maharashtra Police and brought here late last night. They were brought in the court of district and sessions judge K D Vadhane. The court was jam-packed with heavy police bandobast outside.

Near-simultaneous searches were carried out yesterday at the residences of Rao in Hyderabad, Gonzalves and Farreira in Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in New Delhi, a senior police official had said.

Subsequently, Rao, Bhardwaj, Farreira, Gonzalves and Navalakha were arrested under IPC Section 153 (A), which relates to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place or birth, residence, language and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, said the official.

Some other sections of the IPC were also pressed against those arrested, along with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their “alleged Naxal activities,” said the police official, without elaborating. The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the violence at Maharashtra’s Koregaon-Bhima village, triggered by an event called ‘Elgar Parishad’ (conclave) held in Pune on December 31 last year.

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