- Arundhati Roy condemned the multi-city raids on activists today
- 5 activists with alleged Maoist links were arrested by Pune Police
- Arundhati Roy likened the raids to the declaration of Emergency
Renowned author-activist Arundhati Roy condemned the raids today on activists and intellectuals in multiple cities as "absolutely perilous" and likened it to the declaration of an Emergency.
Nine activists were raided by the Pune Police in connection with violence in Maharashtra's Bhima Koregaon on January 1; five of them were arrested.
"That the raids are taking place on the homes of lawyers, poets, writers, Dalit rights activists and intellectuals - instead of on those who make up lynch mobs and murder people in broad daylight tells us very clearly where India is headed. Murderers will be honoured and celebrated. Anybody who speaks up for justice or against Hindu majoritarianism is being made into a criminal," said Arundhati Roy.
"It is in preparation for the coming elections. We cannot allow this to happen. We have to all come together. Otherwise we will lose every freedom that we cherish. It is as close to a declaration of an Emergency as we are going to get," the celebrated author warned.
Raids were conducted at homes of activists and intellectuals in Delhi, Faridabad, Goa, Mumbai, Thane, Ranchi and Hyderabad.
Maoist ideologue and poet Varavara Rao was arrested for his alleged involvement in a Maoist plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr Rao's name had cropped up in a letter seized by the police during searches at the premises of one of the five people arrested in June in connection with 'Elgar Parishad', an event in Pune that allegedly triggered violence in Bhima Koregaon a day later.
Members of the Dalit community from all over Maharashtra had gathered in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on December 31 to celebrate what they call their victory over Maratha Peshwas. This year was the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in 1818.
One person died and several were injured in clashes that broke out between Dalit activists and the upper-caste Marathas on January 1. The violence spread to Mumbai and other cities on January 2 and 3, with protesters calling for a bandh across Maharashtra.
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