All procedures were followed in conducting raids and arrests: Deepak Kesarkar

The action was based on firm proof about their links with the Naxal movement, the Maharashtra Minister said.

Published: 30th August 2018 12:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th August 2018 12:13 AM   |  A+A-

Fire men at a charred shop following the violence during celebrations of 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, near Pune. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

MUMBAI: All procedures were followed before conducting the raids against the activists, Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Rural) Deepak Kesarkar said here on Wednesday while defending the arrest of five Left-wing activists in multi-state raids on Tuesday.

The action was based on firm "proof" about their "links with the Naxal movement", the minister said. "It is due to their links with Naxal movements that they have been arrested. If there was no evidence, we would not have taken the action.

We have followed the procedures before conducting raids against these Naxal activists," Kesarkar said while justifying the arrests which were carried out as part of a probe into the Elgar Parishad event held in Pune on December 31 last year, that allegedly triggered violence at Bhima Koregaon.

"Actions are not taken to please anyone. Unless we had proofs, we would not have conducted the raids," he added saying that Naxals were fighting a war against India.

"It is not wrong to be Left-wing, but it is wrong to be a Left-wing extremist," he added.

On the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) letter to the Maharashtra government seeking information about the operation, he said, "It is the government's duty to respond to the NHRC letter. It is a routine procedure. It does not necessarily mean we are doing anything wrong."

When asked about the link of Elgar Parishad conclave with the violence at Koregaon Bhima village a day after the event, Kesarkar said, "A judicial commission has been set up to look into the matter. Let it come up with its report. If any links are established, we will take appropriate action against the organisers of Parishad."

"We have also arrested Milind Ekbote (a right-wing leader and prime accused in the Koregaon-Bhima violence) for his alleged links to violence at Koregaon Bhima. We should not be criticised that we are targeting Left wing people alone," he said.

"Earlier, tribals were the target of Left-wing extremists. Now, tribals are prospering through the state government's policies, hence the Naxalites are targeting the unemployed urban youth," he said. 

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