Home minister RR Patil on Thursday said the case of Dalit rights activist Sudhir Dhawale, who was arrested on Sunday for allegedly being a naxal sympathiser and was charged with sedition, will be handled by an officer of the level of inspector general of police.
The officer will probe the case and table a report case within a week, Patil said after a delegation of political and social activists met him demanding that all cha-rges against Dhawale be dropped.
The delegation included Dhawale’s wife, Darshana, documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar and Dalit rights activist, Anandraj Ambe-dkar.
“An officer of the level of inspector general will look into this case and submit a report within a week. After this, an additional director general of police will verify the report and then we will take a decision,” Patil said.
Sources said the inspector general of Nashik is likely to be told to handle the case.
The delegation assured Patil that 42-year-old Dhawale was neither a naxalite nor a member of any terrorist organisation.
“How can you charge a Dalit activist with treason and terrorism and equate the Ambedkarite movement with naxalism? We told the home minister that this kind of unfair treatment will further alienate dalit youth from the mainstream and make them naxal sympathisers,” Anandraj Ambedkar said.
The police alleged that Dhawale, who publishes a monthly journal called Vidrohi, is the member of the state committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and various offences have been registered against him since 2005.
The police raided Dhawale’s home on Monday and seized publications and documents related to Marxism.
The delegation told Patil that the police had charged Dhawale for speeches and writings criticising the government but that was within the rights of any activist and intellectual.
“If everyone gets charged with sedition for making anti-government or critical speeches, then we can’t be said to be living in a democracy,” Ambedkar said.