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Crack-down on activists is attempt to shift focus away from


Press Trust of India Mumbai
Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar today claimed that arrests of Left-wing activists for alleged Maoist links were aimed at diverting the attention from the "probe" against Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing Hindu outifit.
He also alleged that police have made contradictory claims about the violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January.
"The BJP-led government wants to shift the focus away from ongoing investigation into the Sanatan Sanstha, so such raids are being carried out," Ambedkar told PTI.
"The Pune rural police, which is probing the Bhima Koregaon violence, have registered FIR against Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, both known for aggressive right-wing stand. Both allegedly instigated the violence," he said.
"But officials of Vishrambagwada police station (in Pune city) are hinting at 'urban Maoist' connection with Elgar Parishad in Pune, in which many Left-wing ideology followers had taken part," he said.
"And now the probe agencies are hinting at Elgar Parishad (conclave) instigating the violence (at Bhima Koregaon)," said Ambedkar, the leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar.
Earlier, speaking to a news channel, he termed the arrest of five Left-wing activists after raids across the country as an attempt to "silence" the masses.
He said those raising voices against the government were NGOs and non-political organisations, but had their roots in the masses.
"With these raids, the government is trying to silence the masses, but I doubt whether non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will be silent. They will be more active in opposing the government because they do not have any stake," he said.
"They do not contest elections. Their only interest is to see that democracy and human rights are safeguarded in this country. That is their motive. They will be more aggressive now than earlier," the former member of parliament (MP) said.
He also said earlier this month, the Maharashtra Police arrested some persons, including a member of a right-wing Hindu outfit, for alleged conspiracy to carry out blasts only because of the action taken by the Karnataka Police in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.
The Karnataka Police arrested one Mahesh Kale from Pune in that case, which forced the state police to act, he alleged.
Vaibhav Raut, who is among those arrested by the Maharashtra police in the blast conspiracy case on August 10, had purportedly claimed to be a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, but the organisation has denied that he was a member.
Police have not stated yet whether the Sanstha is under the scanner of investigators in any under-probe case.
The Pune Police yesterday raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested poet Varavara Rao, activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha.
The raids were part of a probe into the Koregaon-Bhima violence after the Elgar Parishad event of December 31.

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First Published: Aug 29 2018 | 7:45 PM IST

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