Varavara Rao Implicated in Bhima Koregaon Case Only to Silence His Voice, Wife Writes in Open Letter to CJI
In an open letter to the Chief Justice, Varavara Rao's wife P Hemalata requested him to look into the 'malafide intentions' and order her husband's immediate release.
Seen here is poet, activist Varavara Rao surrounded by police personnel.
Hyderabad: Revolutionary poet Varavara Rao's wife Tuesday appealed to the Chief Justice of India to intervene in the case involving her husband, who is currently lodged in a prison at Pune, and take steps for his release.
In an open letter to the Chief Justice, P Hemalata claimed Rao has been made an accused, along with others, in the Koregaon Bhima violence case which was later extended to criminal conspiracy and then to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
"While he has nothing to do with the initial Bhima Koregaon violence (in fact the original perpetrators are not booked at all), I strongly suspect that my husband is implicated in the case just to silence his voice," she said.
She was sure that he never ever involved himself in any criminal activity in his 79 years of life, Hemalata said, according to a press release issued by those supporting her cause.
His "innocence or non-involvement in criminal activities was also pronounced by various law courts of the land," she claimed.
Rao was allegedly implicated in as many as 25 cases in the last 45 years and police accused him of several grave charges "as is being done now," she said.
Of the 25 cases, the courts set him free in 13 cases (after years of prolonged trial) and the other 12 cases were withdrawn by the state even before trial, she claimed. "The Pune police have also charged him with very serious and similar offences now but it is certain that this case also will not stand the scrutiny of law and that he will come out unscathed," she said.
Varavara Rao was "also implicated" in another case in Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), only to prevent him from coming out on bail in the Pune case, she claimed. "But, the issue that is worrying us a lot and the reason why we want to appeal to you is his age and failing health," she said.
She said she was not at all questioning the due process of law. "However, a person who has no criminal record and a person on whom police filed about 25 cases vindictively as he was professing unpalatable views to the powers that be cannot be subjected to incarceration at the age of 79, just because a police official fabricated some so-called evidence," Hemalata said.
She requested the Chief Justice "to look into the malafide intentions and the manner in which the case is made out and also order his immediate release pending the judicial trial."
Hemalatas open Letter has been endorsed by about 100 intellectuals and others in Hyderabad and Telangana. The letter was also posted on an online petitions site and more than 660 people from all over the world endorsed it, the release claimed.
On January 1 last year, Dalits came under attack at an event which commemorated the 1818 Koregaon Bhima 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 oppose the celebration.
Every year, the anniversary of the battle is marked by thousands of Dalits assembling in Pune and marching to Koregaon-Bhima to a war memorial.
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