Raids on activists: ‘Officers came to house with a warrant written in Marathi’

They initially did not have a search warrant, says partner of activist Gautam Navlakha

Updated - August 29, 2018 08:29 am IST

Published - August 29, 2018 01:47 am IST - New Delhi

 Activist Gautam Navlakha being taken into custody in Delhi on Tuesday.

Activist Gautam Navlakha being taken into custody in Delhi on Tuesday.

Sabha Husain, partner of human rights activist Gautam Navlakha who was arrested by the Pune police on Tuesday from his residence in south Delhi’s Nehru Enclave, said the officers came to the house around 7.30 a.m. but that she refused to open the door as they allegedly did not have a search warrant.

“They did not show me any warrant at the time so I did not open the door. A lawyer had informed me earlier not to open the door without any warrant,” she said. Around 10 a.m., a police team, along with woman officers, knocked on the door again, this time with a warrant written in Marathi,” Ms. Husain said.

“I asked them to translate it for me and then allowed them in. We fully cooperated and they also behaved cordially,” she said, adding that Mr. Navlakha was present during this time.

The search lasted over two hours after which the police seized the activist’s laptop, mobile phones, external hard drives and other digital storage devices.

Mr. Navlakha, who has been associated with the People’s Union for Democratic Rights, was arrested around 2 p.m. by the Pune police, with assistance from the Delhi Police Special Cell.

Reacting to the arrest, Ms. Husain said that they “had a feeling” that it was going to happen but they did not expect it on Tuesday. “Also, in the morning when they [the police] came, I told Gautam that they are not just going to search and seize, they are going to take him”.

‘A terrible moment’

Ms. Husain called it a “terrible moment” and said that Mr. Navlakha has not committed any crime.

“If people have not committed any crime, there should be no offence. You have your own political ideology and the kind of work you do; you should be allowed to do that. They are afraid of ideas more than guns and that is true because ideas can make a difference,” she said.

“The situation the country is in today; anyone can be picked up at anytime for saying anything about the government,” she said.

Sources in the Special Cell said that they received a written request from the Pune police after which they provided “logistical assistance”. Mr. Navlakha was briefly detained at the Special Cell Office in Lodhi Colony police station while the court proceedings were under way after which he was sent back to his residence till further court order.

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