New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) A lawyers body on Thursday demanded the immediate and unconditional release of advocate Surendra Gadling and four others arrested on charges of being “Maoist sympathisers” who incited communal disharmony during the Bhima-Koregaon violence.
“A new trend has been started in this country — to arrest and terrorise activists who speak up for Dalits, Adivasis and undertrials,” said lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, of which Gadling is General Secretary.
“Those who are defending the innocents arrested in the Bhima-Koregaon violence are now roped into this case.”
She said that the arrests were aimed to discourage the unity forged by the Dalits and Bahujans against “castiest-Hindutva forces”.
Gadling was arrested on Wednesday in a joint operation by Delhi and Pune Police from his house in Nagpur under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The arrests were made in connection with an FIR registered on January 8 by Vishrambaug police in Maharashtra.
Four others arrested in Mumbai and Delhi are Nagpur University Professor Shomen Sen, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut.
“Though the FIR did not name Gadling, police still raided his house and office and confiscated all CDs, hard disks, computers, including his family’s personal devices,” Sudha alleged.
She said that Investigating officers Suhash Bawche and Ravindra Kadam — who had earlier arrested Delhi University Professor G.N. Saibaba — arrested Gadling.
Another lawyer Nithya Srikrishnan claimed that Milind Eknote and Sambhaji Bhide, who “provoked violence” in Bhima-Koregaon, were roaming scot-free despite rejection of their anticipatory bail applications by the Supreme Court.
The leaders of the Nagpur-based Democratic Advocates Association for Constitutional Action said that Gadling was in the forefront to fight cases pertaining to Khairlanji protests’ aftermath, Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar police firing agitation cases and murder cases of Manorama Kamble and Sanjay Khobragade.