In a new twist in the arrests of five activists, the Maharashtra police has made a startling claim that one of them was in contact with Kashmiri separatists. Maharashtra police has said that a letter recovered during its multi-city raids alleges that Gautam Navlakha, a Delhi based journalist who was one of the five Left intellectuals arrested for alleged Maoist links, and one Ankit was in contact with the separatists.
According to news agency PTI, the undated letter in Hindi was written by some ‘Comrade Sudha’ to some ‘Comrade Prakash’ and talks about giving financial help to the “comrades” working in the “interiors”.
The letter, a copy of which was in PTI’s possession, reads - “Comrade Ankit and Comrade Gautam Navlakha are in contact with Kashmiri separatists.”
It further states, “After Saibaba’s imprisonment, there is an atmosphere of fear among urban cadres. To minimise that fear, there is a need to provide a monetary package to the comrades working in interiors on the line of financial aid provided by Kashmiri separatists to the stone pelters, militant organisations and their families.”
On Tuesday, the Pune police had carried out multiple raids at the residences of five Left-leaning activists across the country and arrested them for their alleged Maoist links. The raids were carried out as part of a probe into a conclave—Elgar Parishad—held in Pune on December 31 last year, which had allegedly triggered violence at Bhima Koregaon in the district the next day.
The police had arrested revolutionary writer Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj in Haryana’s Faridabad, and journalist Gautam Navlakha in Delhi.
The arrests triggered a massive outrage across the country with some prominent activists approaching the Supreme Court to challenge the police action. The apex court on Wednesday ordered that all the five activists should be kept under house arrest till September 6.