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Crackdown on activists brazen attack on civil liberties: Brinda Karat

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat today called Maharashtra police's crackdown on Left-wing activists in connection with their probe in the Bhima-Koregaon violence a "brazen attack" on democratic rights by the central government.
Karat, Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam and several rights campaigners participated in a protest organised by Jan Ekta Jan Adhikar Andolan at Jantar Mantar in solidarity with the activists.
They sought the immediate release of the activists and withdrawal of the charges against them.
"This is the most brazen attack on civil liberties and democratic rights by the Modi government. We do not think it is the Pune police or the Maharashtra government. This is coming straight from the Centre," Karat told PTI.
She said the ruling party wants to sent a message that any dissent will be considered anti-national.
"This is a sign of desperate government, authoritarian government," she said.
Karat alleged that the Centre was subverting the legal process.
"The Supreme Court had to make sharp comments. In spite of that, the BJP spokesperson made definitive statements against not only the activists but all citizens criticising the arrest. They don't want anybody to stand up and speak against them," she said.
Civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad said the crackdown was an attack on freedom of expression.
"This is a clear attempt to divert attention from core issues. It's being done to instill fear in people and stifle anyone's voices who are in opposition," Setalvad said.
CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali alleged that the arrests were an attempt to cover-up the misdeeds of the government.
"Truth about the note ban, Rafale deal is out in open for people to know. They are trying to suppress Dalits who are fighting for their rights. Even those taking up the fight for Dalits are not being spared," she said.
Maharashtra police arrested Leftwing activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha as part of their probe into the 'Elgar Parishad' conclave in Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune on December 31 last year.
The conclave had triggered violence between Dalits and upper caste Peshwas.
Others whose premises were reportedly searched this week were Father Stan Swamy, Susan Abraham, Kranthi Tekula and Anand Teltumbde.

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First Published: Aug 30 2018 | 8:50 PM IST

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