- Solid evidence to link activists with Maoists, say Maharashtra police
- They were planning "another Rajiv Gandhi-like incident": Police
- The police claimed they found a rocket launcher pamphlet
Facing criticism on the raids and arrests targeting rights activists, the Maharashtra police today claimed solid evidence including "thousands of documents and letters" that established the activists' links to Maoists and their role in facilitating weapons and funding.
"We have thousands of letters which show how these people were involved in the underground movement, how students from Jawaharlal Nehru University were being mobilised to overthrow the elected government. All these letters just make the Maoists links clearer," said Param Bir Singh, Additional Director General, Maharashtra Police, in a press conference this evening.
He read out a letter exchanged between an activist arrested not this week but earlier in June, which spoke of planning "another Rajiv Gandhi-like incident to end Modi-raj". Some of the letters, he said, spoke of planning "some big action" which would attract attention.
The senior police officer said they even found a rocket launcher pamphlet in one of the seized disks.
"A letter written from Delhi-based activist Rona Wilson to Maoist leader Prakash on July 30, 2017, spoke of requirement of Rs. 8 crore for grenade launchers with four lakh rounds", he said.
Rona Wilson was one of the five activists arrested in June in connection with violence between Dalits and upper caste Marathas at a mass event held on December 31-January 1 at Bhima Koregaon near Pune. The letter said to be written by him has not been submitted in court.
The activists who were arrested on Tuesday - Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, activists Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves - are under house arrest on the Supreme Court's orders.
The Maharashtra police said there was enough evidence to prove that these activists were working to destabilize the government.
The arrests are based on evidence gathered after the June arrests.
The activists, police sources have claimed, were monitored closely for almost one week and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was briefed about "fresh evidence" before the raids.
Police said the accused had been in touch with around 35 major universities and colleges 'to recruit young students to take their movement ahead'.