House arrest of five activists with alleged Maoist links extended till September 17

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New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the house arrest of five left-leaning activists till September 17 when it will hear a plea challenging the Maharashtra police’s action and seeking their release.

Hearing the petition filed by historian Romila Thapar and four others, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra adjourned the matter till Monday after it was submitted the defence counsel was busy in another court.

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Earlier in August, five left-leaning activists – Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bhardwaj and Gautam Navalakha – were taken into custody by Pune Police after multi-city raids.

The police had claimed that the activists were linked with banned Maoist groups and one of them was also involved in the alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Last week, citing evidence from the computer and mobile phones of the activists, the Maharashtra Police had told the Supreme Court that they were taken into custody for "serious criminal offences" and not because of their political ideologies.

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