- Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao arrested from his home in Hyderabad
- Among 5 activists arrested today by Pune Police after country-wide raids
- The arrests were in connection with Koregaon Bhima violence in January
Maoist ideologue and revolutionary writer P Varavara Rao was arrested from his home in Hyderabad today for his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The arrest came after a raid at his home and the houses of his family members and friends, including a journalist, by the Pune Police.
Nine activists across the country were raided this morning by the Pune Police for alleged Maoist links; five of them have been arrested, including Varavara Rao.
Varavara Rao is likely to be shifted by the police to Pune for questioning.
78-year-old Varavara Rao's name had cropped up in a letter seized in June by the police during searches on others arrested after the Elgar Parishad event on December 31 last year to commemorate 200 years of the Bhima Koregaon battle in 1818.
The letter, written by a person identified only as "R", reportedly mentions a plot to kill PM Modi on the lines of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The letter also mentions the requirement for Rs 8 crore to procure a M-4 rifle - a American-made carbine rifle used by the US Army - and four lakh rounds of ammunition to execute the plot. The letter reportedly mentions Varavara Rao's name.
Varavara Rao, who heads ''Veerasam'', an association of revolutionary writers, had strongly denied the allegations. He had said that all five arrested in the case were working for the betterment of oppressed.
Academics and authors have termed the arrests as "absolutely chilling" and "virtual declaration of emergency".
"They should raid those who make up lynch mobs and murder people in broad daylight. It tells us very clearly where India is headed. Murderers will be honoured and celebrated," said author-activist Arundhati Roy in a statement.