‘Centre branding every questioning voice Maoist’

June 10, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 03:52 am IST - HYDERABAD

Speakers at a meeting condemn “media trial”

Revolutionary poet Varavara Rao has decried the attitude of national media channels in unquestioningly accepting the accusations of the Maharashtra police against the four Dalit activists and an academic arrested on Thursday in relation to Bhima-Koregaon violence.

Expressing regret that the media which is the fourth pillar of democracy has “stooped” to such levels, he mentioned that he had to walk out of a debate hosted by a reputed English channel as the anchor had resorted to verbal assault against him.

He was addressing a press conference in the context of the arrests made by Maharashtra police, and the news that he too was involved in providing funding to the ‘Elgar Parishad’ which was claimed by the police as linked to the Maoists.

Citing the letter purportedly written by Maoist top leader Milind Teltumbde to activist Rona Wilson as claimed by the Maharashtra police, Mr. Varavara Rao questioned if there was any known instance in the past when the leaders underground had written letters to those in public life.

Charges refuted

Refuting the claims that the letter was written by Maoist top brass, he also pointed out another anomaly in the letter whereby he was referred to as ‘Varisht Netha’ (great leader).

“Many among you know the style of Maoist writings. Have they ever addressed me as great leader?” he questioned the media persons. A leader of Milind’s stature would not write a letter in such irresponsible way, he said.

Elgar Parishad, he said, is a confederation of 200 to 300 organisations, and includes the former Press Council chairperson and retired Supreme Court judge P.B. Sawant too, he said, and accused the Central government of branding every questioning voice as Maoist.

Academic-activist Padmaja Shaw, and U. Sambasiva Rao too spoke at the press conference organised jointly by Virasam, Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Telangana Democratic Forum, and Democratic Students’ Union.

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