Varavara Rao rearrested by Pune police for alleged links to Maoist plot
The Maharashtra police on Saturday night again arrested Maoist ideologue and revolutionary poet Pendyala Varavara Rao with the end of his period of his house arrest in a case related to the Bhima Koregaon clashes in January this year and his alleged involvement in the plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The arrest of 78-year old Rao followed a Hyderabad High Court order on Friday refusing to quash the transit remand order issued by the chief metropolitan magistrate on August 28 facilitating the Maharashtra police team’s taking him into their custody.
A special team of the Pune police led by an assistant commissioner of police which arrived in Hyderabad on Friday, arrested Rao and will take him to Pune, after taking permission from the local court.
Tension prevailed at his apartment in Gandhinagar, where a large number of sympathisers, human rights activists and members of civil liberties organisations gathered, raising slogans against what they described as an “illegal arrest”. “We strongly condemn the brutal repression on democratic and human rights’ activists. The arrest of Varavara Rao is highly unconstitutional and illegal,” said civil rights activist and lawyer V Raghunath.
Rao’s family members, including his wife Hemalatha, broke down, as he was forced into a vehicle by the Pune police.
The period of house arrest of Rao actually ended on October 26, but the Hyderabad high court extended it by three weeks on the plea that the health condition did not permit him to be shifted to Pune.
The high court said the writer could approach the Bombay high court to file a petition, seeking quashing of the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Pune police against him.
Rao was arrested on August 28 and taken to Pune, after the Pune police conducted searches on his house and reportedly seized incriminating material. He was charged with conspiring Maoists to create disturbances in Maharashtra. Four other rights activists were also arrested by the Pune police the same day from different parts of the country on near similar charges.
However, following a writ petition filed by historian Romilla Thapar and others challenging the arrests, the Supreme Court passed an order to keep them under house arrest. The house arrest was subsequently extended from time to time.