The Supreme Court on Thursday extended the in-house arrest of five right activists till September 12 for their alleged connection to Bhima Koregaon violence. Those arrested were - Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale and Rona Wilson. "Bhima Koregaon case: Supreme Court extended the house arrest of five arrested activists till September 12,' according to reports.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Maharashtra government, which has been under the scanner for its crackdown on Left-wing activists, told the Supreme Court that the activists were not arrested for their dissenting views but due to the cogent evidence linking them with the banned CPI (Maoist) party.
Bhima Koregaon case: Supreme Court extended the house arrest of five arrested activists till September 12. pic.twitter.com/T6HbOXvGCx— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018
The affidavit came on the heels of the apex court's August 29 verdict, which directed the Maharashtra police to keep the detained activists under house arrest till September 6, saying “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy and if you don’t allow these safety valves, it will burst”.
The counter affidavit, filed by the Maharashtra police on a plea of historian Romila Thapar and others challenging the arrest of these activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, alleged that they were planning to carry out violence in the country and ambush the security forces.
The state police further added that there was sufficient evidence to “dispel” the claim that they were arrested for their dissenting views.
On August 28, Maharashtra Police in a coordinated raid across India arrested five prominent Left-wing activists for suspected Maoist links, sparking a chorus of outraged protests from human rights defenders.
While prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira from Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha was arrested from Delhi.
The raids were carried out as part of a probe into an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year, which had later triggered violence at Maharashtra's Bhima-Koregaon village during the 200th birth anniversary celebration of a British-era war.