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Raids on activists highlight lack of police accountability: CHRI

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Calling the raids on Left-wing activists by police "disturbing", NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative today said the incident highlights a lack of accountability in the police force.

The Maharashtra police arrested Left-wing activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, and raided the homes of several others 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.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has issued a statement, calling the raids "disturbing".

The statement has been signed by CHRI members and former Chief Information Commissioner of India Wajahat Habibullah, former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah and former Secretary Vineeta Rai among others.

"This is particularly disturbing, given allegations of procedural lapses by the police in the conduct of the raids and arrests. That this comes barely a month before Police Reforms Day shows how extensive gaps still remain with regard to police accountability and upholding the law, not just enforcing it," according to the statement.

"We are concerned about the use of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and sedition laws, despite courts at the highest level repeatedly pointing out their widespread abuse. This is particularly disturbing, given allegations of procedural lapses by the police in the conduct of the raids and arrests," it said.

"That this comes barely a month before Police Reforms Day shows how extensive gaps still remain with regard to police accountability and upholding the law, not just enforcing it," it added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 30 2018. 22:15 IST
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