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Telugu Poet Varavara Rao Taken Into Custody by Pune Police Shortly After House Arrest Ends

According to the police, Varavara Rao is allegedly connected with the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), which has been declared unlawful in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana for allegedly being a front of the CPI (Maoist).​

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Updated:November 18, 2018, 7:29 AM IST
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Telugu Poet Varavara Rao Taken Into Custody by Pune Police Shortly After House Arrest Ends
Poet-Social activist Varavara Rao as he returns home to be placed under house arrest, in Hyderabad on Thursday, Aug 30, 2018. (Image: PTI)
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Pune: Telugu poet and activist Varavara Rao, accused of having Maoist links, was taken into custody by Pune police from Hyderabad in a case related to Elgar Parishad conclave, shortly after being released from house arrest on Saturday night.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Pune) Shivaji Bodakhe said an extension of his house arrest, granted by the Hyderabad High Court, expired on November 15.

On October 26, Pune police had taken co-accused Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves into custody, while Sudha Bharadwaj was taken into custody the next day.

Left-leaning activists Rao, Ferreira, Gonsalves, Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha were arrested on August 28 after Pune police conducted raids at various places in the country in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.

The police alleged that the activists had links with the Maoists, who backed Elgar Parishad event held in Pune on December 31 last year. The Parishad, the police alleged, led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial in Pune district the next day.

However, the activists were put under house arrest on Supreme Court's order. The apex court subsequently said Pune police can go ahead with the probe.

Of these five activists, Navlakha has not been taken into custody yet.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar, the investigating officer, said a court in Hyderabad dismissed Rao's application against the transit warrant obtained by Pune Police Friday.

"He will be produced before a court in Pune on Sunday," the officer added.

On November 15, police filed a charge sheet against activists Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhavale in the same case. These five had been arrested on June 6.

The charge sheet alleged that Maoists were trying to mobilise and incite Dalits, and Elgar Parishad was part of this strategy.

"Some Maoist leaders were also conspiring to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi," it said.

The Maoist-backed conclave "aggravated" the violence at Koregaon Bhima, the charge sheet said.

It did not name Rao, Bharadwaj and three others who were arrested in August.

On January 1 this year, Dalits came under attack at an event which commemorated the 1818 Bhima Koregaon battle. In the battle, forces of the Peshwa, the ruler of Pune, were defeated by the British East India Company. While Dalits see the victory as an assertion of their identity as the British forces included Mahar (a formerly untouchable caste) soldiers, Hindu Right-wing organisations opposed the celebration.

(With PTI inputs)
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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