Naxalite funds were used to sponsor the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ held in Pune’s Shaniwarwada Fort on December 31 last year, revealed the city police on Thursday.
Joint Commissioner of Pune City Police, Ravindra Kadam, said that the authorities had “concrete proof” that the five activist-intellectuals arrested in Mumbai, Delhi and Nagpur on Wednesday morning had “direct or indirect links” with the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Those arrested include noted Dalit activist-publisher Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai, prominent human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling, tribal activist Mahesh Raut and Nagpur University English Professor Shoma Sen from Nagpur, and activist Rona Wilson in New Delhi.
All arrested were produced before the Sessions court today which remanded them to police custody till June 14.
“Our probe has disclosed that Gadling and Wilson had definite links with top Naxal leaders. The thread also leads to Dhawale…Raut, who was arrested earlier on suspicion of Naxal links is known to Ms. Sen,” said Mr. Kadam, explaining the linkages of the activists with Naxalites.
He said that of the documents the police had scrutinized till now, there were indications that all five had indirect linkages with Naxal incidents that took place in Gadchiroli, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand.
“However, further investigations will reveal whether or not they had any direct connection with the Bhima-Koregaon riots, which erupted a day after (January 1) the Parishad,” said Mr. Kadam, stating that the electronic devices seized from Mr. Gadling and Mr. Wilson were being forensically examined.
The police further disclosed that a letter retrieved from Mr. Wilson’s computer was allegedly written to the activist by top Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde.
In it, Teltumbde is believed to have expressed satisfaction at the successful conduct of the ‘Elgaar Parishad’. The police said that the names of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) president Prakash Ambedkar, along with some Congress leaders, too, had allegedly cropped up in the letter.
“As of now, I cannot reveal the contents or the references in the documents we are examining. They are part of the ongoing investigation,” said Mr. Kadam.