Govt trying to strike terror: Jharkhand civil society

Activists from various organisations stage a protest pertaining to the arrest of five activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon protests, in New Delhi on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2018. PTI Photo

Calling raids on prominent activists and intellectuals an attempt by the government to strike terror among those fighting for the marginalised, Jharkhand's civil society members, including economist Jean Dreze, have demanded the immediate release of the people arrested.

Maharashtra police arrested Left-wing activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, and raided the homes of several others as part of their probe into the 'Elgar Parishad' conclave in Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune on December 31 last year.

The conclave had triggered violence between Dalits and upper caste Peshwas.

Others whose premises were reportedly searched this week were Father Stan Swamy, Susan Abraham, Kranthi Tekula and Anand Teltumbde.

"We demand the immediate release of the arrested individuals and dropping of all false charges against them, as these arrests and raids are politically motivated and unjustified," a letter signed by 73 groups and individuals stated.

Prominent people who signed the letter included economist Jean Dreze, Afzal Anees and Kavita Srivastava.

"The raid on the residential premises of Stan Swamy, a well-known activist of Jharkhand, was highly objectionable. Stan works for the rights of Adivasis and other underprivileged groups in the state. Among other issues, he works on displacement, corporate loot of resources, the condition of undertrials," according to the letter.

The central government and media houses close to the BJP are now claiming that the human rights activists were part of a Maoist conspiracy related to the Bhima-Koregaon incident.

This "concocted story" seems to be a part of a larger propaganda, based on terms such as "urban naxals", aimed at stifling any criticism of the government, it said.

The raids and arrests are part of the government's attempts to stifle dissent and intimidate those who are fighting for justice.

"This is also an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the 2019 elections in its favour," they said in the statement. 

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Govt trying to strike terror: Jharkhand civil society

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