NEW DELHI: Condemning arrests of various activists and journalists such as Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha, the CPI-M on Tuesday alleged that the police have been targeting Dalit rights activists and intellectuals after Bhima Koregaon riots.
"The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) strongly protests the raids conducted by police authorities on the homes of various civil rights and human rights activists and Left intellectuals," the party said in a statement.
"Ever since the Bhima Koregaon violence against Dalits, the Maharashtra Police along with central agencies has been targeting Dalit rights activists and lawyers who have been taking up their cases. False charges have been levelled and the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act invoked," it said.
READ HERE: Bhima Koregaon violence: Multi-city raids at residences of activists with suspected Maoist links
The police conducted raids in Mumbai, Delhi, Ranchi, Goa and Hyderabad and arrested some of the activists like Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao and journalist Gautam Navlakha. The police also took in its possession laptops, mobiles and some papers from the homes of those raided.
"These constitute a brazen attack on democratic rights and civil liberties. The CPI-M demands withdrawal of the cases against these activists and their immediate release," the CPI-M said.
On January 1 this year, violent clashes broke out between the Dalits and right-wing Hindutva groups in Bhima Koregaon on the outskirts of Pune where the former had gathered in large numbers to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in which the Peshwas were defeated by a British Army that had Mahar soldiers.