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Why Plea to Release Bhima-Koregaon Accused Varavara Rao Sets a Dangerous Precedent

File photo of activist-poet Varavara Rao. (Image: PTI)

File photo of activist-poet Varavara Rao. (Image: PTI)

A section of Left leaning intellectuals have come forward to demand the release of the Telugu poet who was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence of January 2018.

Keshav Upadhye
  • Last Updated: July 26, 2020, 2:11 PM IST
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Varavara Rao deserves to get medical treatment, and there is no second opinion about it. But to demand his release from the prison under the pretext that he is innocent is definitely a sign of distrust of the judiciary. Instead of accepting the decision given by the honourable court, there seems to be a despicable attempt of putting pressure on the government and the courts.

A section of Left leaning intellectuals have come forward to demand the release of the Telugu poet who was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon (in Pune district) violence of January 2018. Several arguments have been made in support of Rao by certain section of intelligentsia. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has already filed an affidavit regarding Rao’s medical condition in the Supreme Court. Despite this, it is a great surprise to learn that intellectuals, journalists and writers should make efforts for the release of the accused in one of the heinous crimes.

Their only contention is that Rao is innocent and that he does not have any links or connection with the Maoists organisations. The apex court as well as the high court have indicated, on the basis of the prima facie evidence, that Rao and other accused have links with Maoists organisations and that they were involved in the Bhima Koregaon violence case. This is evident by the fact that time and again the bail applications of Rao and other accused have been rejected by the Supreme Court and the lower courts. In such a situation to claim that these accused are innocent and that they have been implicated in the case is like the intellectuals and supporters of Maoists organisations do not have any faith in the country’s judiciary.

In the recent past, some Supreme Court judges had held a press conference where all these intellectuals and scholars came together against the Narendra Modi government in defence of the judiciary claiming that the Modi-led government and the Bharatiya Janata Party are working towards destroying the judicial system in the country. But in this case against the urban Naxalites these intellectuals contradict their own ideologies by openly distrusting the judiciary which proves their double whammy. It also highlights how conveniently they alter the use of judiciary, democracy and the constitution.

In 2014, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had banned the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Kabir Kala Manch, the Revolutionary Democratic Front and the Democratic Students’ Union for various illegal activities. The announcement to this effect was made by the then Union Home minister RPN Singh in the Parliament on February 18, 2014. But after the arrest of Rao and other activists, Congress President Rahul Gandhi publicly supported the organisations organising the Elgar Parishad. And he conveniently forgot that it was his party that had banned these organisations.

Urban Naxalism is a serious threat to the security of the country — this was time and again recorded and tabled by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh , the then Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Shivraj Patil in the Parliament from 2004 to 2014. Congregations targeting the Modi government under the pretext of the Bhima Koregaon violence case must revisit their old tabled documents and check the recorded statements made by their leaders.

In 2011, Maharashtra police had arrested some activists from the Kabir Kala Manch when many progressive thinkers came to the rescue of these activists. The then state home minister R R Patil had stated that the government had evidence about strong links these activists had with the Naxalite organisations. Thousands of police and security personnel along with civilians have lost their lives in these Maoists and Naxal operations since 1990. These progressive thinkers and intellectuals never took to the streets to protest against such Naxal attacks nor did they take any initiative to reassure the relatives of these martyred officials who fell victim to the Naxal violence. It will not sound incorrect if someone opines that these thinkers justify Naxal violence.

The violence at Bhima Koregaon was highly premeditated and was a part of a vicious conspiracy to widen the divide between the upper castes and the Dalit community. The Maoists are against the democracy and the constitution and there is a lot of documentary evidence and literature available that proves that the goal of the Maoists is to overthrow the existing democracy. Their goal is to create distrust in the minds of the common man about the law, the constitution and the government administration system through various means. They propagate and preach that the system in the country is incapable of giving justice to the common man and hence one needs to rise up against the system. This is how the Maoists organisations provoke the minds of the youth.

If we study the available documents regarding the Naxals’ intentions to provoke the youth and incite them to violence, it seems clear that the Naxals want to take over the entire country by 2025 by armed revolution. They have realised that it is very easy to capture or take control of the rural areas at gun-point. But in urban areas, one cannot take control of the various activities and thus they resorted to spreading chaos and unrest in the cities. They hatched cunning ploys whereby animosity between different castes can be created, Bhima Koregaon violence being one such insidious ploy. The Maoists are using this (Bhima Koregaon violence) card to achieve their goal of spreading unrest and chaos in the country.

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Urban Naxalism is worst as compared to the Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. There is no second opinion on medical aid be granted to Rao but to release him from prison because he is innocent is a sign of distrust against the judiciary. This is a despicable attempt to put pressure on the courts instead of trying to accept the decision of the court.

The writer is the Chief Spokesperson of Maharashtra BJP. Views expressed are personal.

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  • First Published: July 26, 2020, 2:11 PM IST
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