Thrilled to no end, says Gautam Navlakha after Delhi HC paves way for his release from house arrest
Activist Gautam Navlakha said he was thrilled to have won his freedom after the Delhi high court on Monday cleared the way for his release from house arrest.
“From Delhi High Court I have won my freedom and it thrills me no end,” said Navlakha, reported PTI.
“Can’t forget co-accused and those who remain incarcerated for their ideological convictions,” said the Delhi-based activist, who was among the five rights activists who were arrested by the Maharashtra police in country-wide raids on August 28 for their alleged links with a banned Maoist group. The Supreme Court put them under house arrest the next day, prohibiting them from being taken to Pune.
Navlakha also said that the “period of house arrest, despite restrictions imposed, was put to good use so I hold no grudge”, said PTI.
The high court this evening said the transit remand the police had got from a lower court to detain Navlakha was “unsustainable” because it didn’t meet legal and constitutional requirements.
Refusing to accept the Maharashtra government’s submission that his house arrest be extended by two days since the apex court, by its verdict last week, had also extended it by four weeks, a bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said the house arrest was extended to enable the activists to avail appropriate legal remedy. The extension was for this limited purpose and Navlakha has availed it, the bench said, according to PTI
Apart from Navlakha, lawyer and trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj, Telugu poet P Varavara Rao, and lawyers Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested.
But on a petition by historian Romila Thapar and others that linked the police crackdown to the strong views of the activists, the Supreme Court had ordered the police to place the five under house arrest rather than send them to jail.
The apex court eventually declined to grant the five activists any relief, ruling that their arrests appeared to have been prompted by their alleged link to a banned organisation and not dissent or their political ideology.