Activists arrested in nationwide raids: the story so far

Arrested activists did not organise Elgar Parishad, say former judges

Two retired judges who were organisers of the Elgar Parishad said here on Wednesday that the activists who had been arrested had nothing to do with the event and were never part of the organisation.

Justice P.B. Sawant (retired) of the Supreme Court said the current situation was an “undeclared emergency”. Justice B.G. Kolse Patil (retired) of the Bombay High Court said it was “state terrorism”.

Talking to The Hindu, Justice Sawant, said, “All those who have been arrested and linked to the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017, have nothing to do with it. They were never a part of the Elgar. They were also not organisers of the Parishad. Justice Kolse Patil and I were mainly instrumental in organising the conference. We had no physical or telephonic contact with any of those arrested.”

Justice Sawant said, “On October 4, 2015, a similar public conference was held at the same venue as 2017. After four or five months, the police arrested those associated with the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a Dalit activist organisation, that had helped us organise the conference. The members were arrested for allegedly being associated with Naxalites. However, the police had held a press conference and publicly declared that though they raided the residence of members of KKM they did not find any material to link them to Naxalites. We do not know what the police have as material to associate the activists arrested now with any terrorist act as mentioned in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.”

He also said, “UAPA has been misused as it becomes difficult to obtain bail once it is applied. Advocate Surendra Gadling was arrested only because he accepted the brief to represent the naxalites. He was now in judicial custody and this is lawless to the core. It is for the police to prove that they are Naxalites, except for holding their briefs or sympathising with them.

“We now see that this is being done as part of a wider plan to terrorise people particularly those who criticise the present regime. This is nothing short of state terror. On the other hand, Hindutva organisations, whether it is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal or Sanathan Sanstha, they are free to do anything,” he added.

Justice Kolse Patil said, “On October 4, 2015, we demanded a RSS Mukht Bharat and our work is not tolerated by the regime. They want to teach us a lesson.”

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 1:12:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/arrested-activists-did-not-organise-elgar-parishad-say-former-judges/article24812845.ece

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