The widely-condemned searches and arrest of activists by the Pune police yesterday is not linked to an alleged Maoist plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as some reports had suggested. According to police documents, the arrests are based on investigations into the caste violence on January 1 in Maharashtra's Bhima-Koregaon.
"The accused were arrested on terror charges, after investigation from previous arrests in June," senior Pune police officer Shivaji Bhodke told NDTV.
Ten activists were searched and five were arrested last evening after multi-city raids by the Pune police under a controversial law that allows raids and arrests without a warrant. The police alleged they were linked to Maoists and instigated the Bhima-Koregaon violence.
One of the activists, Maoist ideologue and poet Varavara Rao, was accused of links to the plot to assassinate the PM, allegedly revealed in a Maoist letter.
But according to Pune police documents, the arrests had nothing to do with the Maoist letter allegedly found earlier this year when five other activists were arrested.
"Arrests and raids were conducted for Maoist activities. Bhima-Koregaon was one of the outcomes of their activities," said Mr Bhodke.
A letter used by the police on Tuesday asked for searches on activist Stan Swamy and "the seizure of any technical storage (all kinds of external storage, devices, eg hard disk, pen drive, memory card, CD, DVD, etc) and technical device, eg laptop tab, mobile, notepad, books, newsletters, letters, individual weapons, dailies etc."
The letter lists the investigation at Vishrambaug Police station of case number 04/2018 - which is the Bhima-Koregaon case.
One person died in the January 1 clashes that broke out at the Elgaar Parishad, an event organized by Dalits to mark the victory of soldiers fighting under the British flag over Maratha Peshwas. Right wing groups reportedly opposed the Dalit celebrations saying they cannot observe a British' victory.
The police say the violence was incited by Maoist leaders and arrested five activists in June. The alleged letter detailing a plot to kill PM Modi during one of his public rallies was found on the laptop of one of the activists, the police claimed. During a bail hearing for the accused, the public prosecutor read out the letters in a court in Pune but did not formally submit them.
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