MUMBAI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Saturday accused the Maharashtra government of repression and claimed that several activists, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, had been detained by police over the past two days.
A statement issued by the party said that after Azad's "detention" on Friday, activists like Subodh More, state committee member of the Jati Anta Sangharsh Samiti (affiliated to the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch) and Bhim Army leaders Ashok Kamble, Sunil Thorat, Mahadu Pawar and others had been held Saturday.
The statement alleged that the mobile phones of these activists had been confiscated by authorities. They had gone to meet Azad at Manali Hotel in suburban Malad when the detentions took place, it claimed.
Azad has been held at the hotel under heavy police presence after being denied permission to hold a 'Save the Constitution' rally at Worli's Jamboree Maidan, the CPI (M) statement said.
This latest crackdown has been launched on the eve of the attacks on Dalits at Bhima Koregaon on New Year's Day last year, the statement claimed.
It further alleged that hundreds of false cases had earlier been lodged against several Dalit and human rights activists.
The CPI(M) and the Jati Anta Sangharsh Samiti, in a statement, demanded the release of all those detained as well as permission for the public meeting as requested by the Bhim Army.
"We also reiterate our demand for strong action against Manohar Bhide and Milind Ekbote, the perpetrators of the Bhima Koregaon attacks," the statement by CPI (M) central committee members Ashok Dhawale, Narasayya Adam, Mahendra Singh and Jati Anta Sangharsh Samiti convener Shailendra Kamble said.
Bhide and Ekbote have continually refuted allegations of their involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence.
Meanwhile, NCP leader Jitendra Awhad Saturday tweeted that he met Azad at the hotel where he was allegedly detained.
Awhad dubbed Azad's "detention" as "murder" of the latter's fundamental rights. A police official, however, said that no activist, including Azad, had been detained.