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Arrests of activists: These are worrying days for dissent in India

This week, the Indian state seemed to be bending the liberal principles of Ambedkar's constitution to lock up Dalits and their allies

New Delhi: People from various organisations stage a protest against police raids at the premises of activists and their subsequent arrests, in New Delhi on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. Photo : PTI
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New Delhi: People from various organisations stage a protest against police raids at the premises of activists and their subsequent arrests, in New Delhi on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. Photo : PTI

Mihir S Sharma | Bloomberg
Indian liberals are reeling from a shocking set of arrests this week: Synchronized police raids targeted some of the country’s best-known civil-liberties activists. Authorities have been vague about why they were arrested; many are being held under a draconian national security law that permits detention for six months without formal charges. But, judging by what police officials have leaked to the media -- and what members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have told news channels -- the accused are all supposedly “Naxalites.”

For many Indians, this sounds like an accusation from the distant past. Back in the 1970s, a

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First Published: Aug 30 2018 | 10:02 AM IST

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