Social activist Tusharkranti Bhattacharya was arrested from Gondia railway station in east Maharashtra today by the Gujarat Police for his alleged links with Naxalites and in connection with a case pending against him in Surat since 2010. While Bhattacharya's wife told reporters that her husband was arrested from a train at the railway station when he was returning from Kolkata, Nagpur Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bokde said the police are not aware about the activist's arrest. Bhattacharya (62) was arrested when he was returning to Nagpur from Kolkata in the morning hours, his wife Shoma Sen said. Sen teaches English at the Nagpur University here. "My husband was arrested by the Surat Police and was taken to Gujarat by a flight. He will be produced in a session court there tomorrow. I was informed about his arrest by a lawyer after he got the call from my husband from airport," she said while addressing a press conference here this evening. Terming her husband's arrest "illegal and shocking", Sen said it was akin to "abduction". Bhattacharya was reportedly wanted in connection with the naxalite activities in tribal areas of Gangs, Surat and Navsari districts in Gujarat. "The 2010 case against my husband was of promoting naxalite ideology, but the charges against him were vague in nature.
All co-accused in that case are on bail. Why is he arrested all of sudden after so many years?" she questionned. Bhattacharya was a student leader during the naxal movement in Andhra Pradesh in 1970s. "He was lodged in the Cherlapally Prison in Hyderabad from 2007 to 2013 in connection with certain old cases. After his acquittal by a court in February, 2013, he returned to Nagpur," Sen claimed. She said Bhattacharya was not involved in any "activism" anymore and has been pursuing freelance writing and other hobbies from their home here. Sen said the case registered against him in Surat in 2010 was "general in nature". "A number of activists and people from various NGOs were arrested in 2010 for spreading revolutionary propaganda under various various sections of the IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act," she said. Activist and film actor Vira Sathidar, who was also present at the presser, said Bhattacharya's arrest is akin to "kidnapping" by the police. "The police knew that he has been living in Nagpur since his release from the jail in 2013, but chose not to arrest him in all these years. Suddenly the Surat Police arrested him from a compartment of a train when it entered Maharashtra..." he said.
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