Pune Police arrest Maoist sympathizers nationwide

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Mumbai : For a second time in five months, Pune Police on Tuesday raided alleged Maoist sympathizers across the country and detained several activists, officials said here on Tuesday.

The raids were carried out in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Haryana since morning. Scores of supporters of these activists staged noisy protests during the police raids at various locations.

The raids were described as a follow up to similar action taken on April 17 when the Pune Police swooped on over half a dozen Dalit activists and those involved with the Kabir Kala Manch, which organised an Elgar Conference in Pune on December 31, 2017.

The next day, on January 1, caste riots erupted in Koregaon-Bhima which left one person dead, culminating in a Maharashtra shutdown on January 3 called by the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, headed by Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of B.R. Ambedkar.

After nearly five months, Pune Police teams have fanned out in around half a dozen states and raided the homes and offices of several persons who maybe linked with the Elgar Conference and suspected to be Maoist supporters.

As per available information, the activists raided are Varavara Rao and Kranti (Telangana), Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Pereira (Mumbai), Sudha Bharadwaj and Stan Swami (Chhattisgarh), Gautam Navlakha (Delhi) and Anand Teltumbde (Goa).

The police have seized items like computers, laptops, CDs, documents and books from them and claimed that they functioned like an 'urban think tank' for Maoists. Some are human rights activists.

In April, the Pune police carried out a similar action targetting prominent human rights activists like Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale (all arrested) besides raiding Harshali Potdar, Jyoti Jagtap, Ramesh Gaychor and Sagar Gorke.