'Activists' arrest to divert attention from Gauri case'

'Activists' arrest to divert attention from Gauri case'

National Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar addresses during party's 7th National Convention, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

NCP President Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said the police swoop on rights activists was an attempt to divert attention from the arrests of the assassins of rationalist thinkers M M Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

Pawar also rejected the “urban naxals” tag attempted to be pinned on the activists and said that he knew some of those arrested individually.

“They are leftists. Their ideology is left, but I cannot call each and every person a naxalite,” the former union minister told reporters here rejecting the charges against the activists of plotting an assassination.

Pawar said the arrests of activists was only an attempt to divert the attention from the headway made by the Karnataka Police in the investigation into the assassination of M M Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh.

AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot accused the Modi government of harrassing people who have been fighting for the rights of poor n marginalised.

“This is worst kind of surveillance that the nation has seen. Government wants to silence all dissenting voices,” Gehlot said.

Senior socialist leader Sharad Yadav likened the arrest of human rights activists to an “undeclared emergency”.

“It is an undeclared emergency and people of this country are taking note of it,” Yadav said in a statement here.

The NCP chief said he had read reports that there were certain organaisations closely associated with these assassinations and that the Karnataka Police have made some arrests in this regard.

“If this information is factually correct I think anybody can definitely come to a conclusion that just to divert attention from that particular incident and those who are involved in those incidents, unnecessary importance is given to these people who are activists,” Pawar said.

Pawar said he would visit the homes of the activists who have been arrested and speak to their neighbours and the people of the locality and then brief the media about the case.

“I know some individuals and these individuals, as per my information, they are not the people who will go to the extreme level of assassination of X or Y,” Pawar said to a question about police claims that the activists were planning to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.